The process of being awarded child support is a little different for unmarried parents compared to parents who are getting a divorce. However, some parts of the proceedings are the same. Here’s the basics of how unmarried parents can petition for child support and how you can get the help you need when dealing with sensitive and emotional family legal issues.
First, Legal Paternity Is Determined
When a married couple divorces, any children are presumed to be the biological children of the father. In custody cases involving unmarried parents, this isn’t the case and paternity must be legally proven. This is done with a formal DNA test conducted at a doctor’s office or laboratory. An at-home paternity test can satisfy your curiosity, but it won’t be accepted by the court as legal proof of a biological relationship.
Then, Custody and Visitation Is Arranged
Child support is intended to ensure that the costs of raising a child are roughly equal for both of the child’s parents. If the child spends most of their time with one parent, their overall living expenses will increase. This parent is called the primary custodian. The parent who spends less time with the child, or the non-custodial parent, helps compensate for this increase by making child support payments. This means that custody and visitation must first be arranged, even temporarily, before either parent can be ordered to pay child support.
The Non-Custodial Parent Will Need Provide Documentation Of Their Income and Finances
Another crucial factor that is considered when calculating child support for both divorcing and unmarried parents is how much income the non-custodial parent makes. How much child support is ordered is calculated based on this figure, and then may be lowered if the child spends a great deal of time with the non-custodial parent.
While many payors are concerned that they may be ordered to pay more child support than is affordable for them, this usually isn’t the case once all factors that go into calculating child support are considered.
Contact the Erlina Perez Law Firm Today
At the Erlina Perez Law Firm, we know how challenging making child support payments can be when life throws a curveball. We also know that child support payments are crucial in providing for a child, and our goal is to ensure that child support payments for our clients are fair. Contact Attorney Perez today for more information and to schedule a consultation by calling (201) 880-7070.