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11 Paternity Obligations for Unmarried Parents in Child Support Cases

Child support is an essential financial obligation that unmarried parents must fulfill in cases where one parent has primary custody of the child. This support is necessary to ensure that the child has sufficient resources for living, education, and other expenses. However, determining paternity is also critical in these cases to ensure that the right parent is responsible for the payment and care of the child.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of paternity obligations for unmarried parents in child support cases.

Paternity Obligations for Unmarried Parents in Child Support Cases

1. Determining Parentage

Determining parentage for unmarried parents in child support cases is crucial to prevent payment disputes. Unmarried parents who agree on child support payments do not need to go to court to establish the father’s paternity. Still, Houston state law may require a written agreement to ensure enforce ability. In cases where the father’s paternity is disputed, the court may require genetic testing to determine paternity. It is essential to recognize the father’s paternity for both legal and economic reasons to ensure that paternity matters are put to rest for every subsequent child support issue that may arise in the future.

2. Financial Obligations

Since paternity obligations are established, it is now possible to set up the financial obligations of the parent responsible for child support payments. The amount may vary depending on the state or district, the number of children involved, and each parent’s income. The court also considers the child’s needs, health, and education expenses. Financial support for the child is a moral obligation and a legal responsibility, and the parents must take the child’s well-being seriously.

3. Shared Cost

It is vital to understand that child support payments are not meant to be a punishment for the non-custodial parent. It is a shared cost between both parents in ensuring the child’s upbringing and daily needs. The parent not in a primary custodial role may continue contributing to the child’s well-being, even if not financially. The parent may also claim expenses incurred during shared visitation, such as travel expenses to the child’s custodial home, as it counts toward the father’s paternity obligation.

People discussing paternity obligations for child support cases

4. Calculating Child Support Payments

The amount of child support payments that need to be made is also part of paternity obligations. In most states, this will involve calculating a basic amount based on both parents’ incomes and adjusting for additional factors, such as daycare costs or health insurance premiums. The court may also consider other factors, such as each parent’s ability to provide financially for the child.

5. Enforcing Child Support Payments

Several enforcement options are available if the father fails to make his required child support payments. These can include wage garnishment, tax intercepts, license suspensions, and even jail time in some cases. Additionally, if the father has failed to establish paternity or sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, he may still be liable for back child support payments even if he was unaware of the obligation.

6. Modifying Child Support Payments

Unmarried parents can modify their existing child support orders if circumstances have changed significantly since the original order was issued. Common reasons for modification include job loss or a significant change in either parent’s income level or living situation. In these cases, it may be necessary to file a motion with the court requesting an adjustment in the existing order amount.

7. Medical Expenses

In addition to monthly child support payments, unmarried fathers may be responsible for covering certain medical expenses related to their children’s healthcare needs as part of their paternity obligations. This could include doctor visits, prescription medications, and any special treatments that might be needed due to illness or injury. Fathers should also remember that they are responsible for providing health insurance coverage for their children if it is available through their employer at an affordable rate.

A parent with their child

8. Education Expenses

Unmarried fathers may also be responsible for paying certain educational expenses related to their children’s schooling needs, such as tuition and fees associated with attending college or trade school programs after high school graduation. Moreover, some states require unmarried fathers to contribute to extracurricular activities, such as sports teams, music lessons, and summer camps.

9. Visitation Rights

The father should also understand that establishing paternity does not necessarily mean they automatically have visitation rights. Depending on the state, courts may award visitation rights only after considering various factors, such as whether there is an existing relationship between father and child, whether either parent objects to visitation, and whether granting visitation would serve the child’s best interests.

10. Non-Payment Consequences

Missing child support payments has severe consequences, including wage and tax refund garnishments, legal fines, and even jail time. It is essential to understand that child support payments are a legal obligation, and any delinquency may result in substantial legal and financial consequences.

11. Legal Representation

Finally, unmarried parents must have legal representation by a qualified family lawyer in Houston when seeking child support payments. A knowledgeable family lawyer can help determine paternity, establish child support payments, respond to non-payment allegations, and protect the parent’s rights. Legal representation is especially crucial for fathers, who may face undue discrimination regarding child custody and support disputes.

A child enjoying some time with their parent

Want to Learn More About Paternity Obligations? Contact the Experts At Daniel Ogbeide Law Today!

When it comes to child support cases for unmarried parents, paternity comes with many important factors crucial for the proper upbringing and care of the child. Understanding paternity obligations, financial commitments, and legal representation by family court lawyers are essential for successfully resolving child support matters. By ensuring everything is in order, the child is well taken care of, and both parents establish a stable, reliable future that is fair to all parties involved.

If you’re looking for affordable divorce attorneys in Houston, please contact Daniel Ogbeide Law today!

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