Posted on: 14 April 2016Share
Being told that you are about to become a father can cause a mixed reaction in some fathers. If you have had a troubled, on-again off-again relationship with the mom of the child, you may have good reason to be concerned about the validity of the claim. Accepting paternity without requiring proof could have long-lasting and serious ramifications, so tread very carefully when confronted with a paternity admission. Read on to learn more about admissions of paternity and what you should know.
Even if the mother never contacts you, she may put your name down as the father when applying for various government aid programs, such as food stamps and housing assistance. If you simply go along with this, the government could seek you out and impose a child support provision, or even extract payment for some of the government services rendered. If you don't take steps to refute the claim of paternity, you could be on the hook for support until that child reaches the age of 18 (or higher in states that order child support to continue while the child attends college). Child support amounts vary, but is usually based on your income. If you fail to pay as ordered, your wages could be garnished and you may even be jailed.
If You Are Not the Father
If you agree to pay child support without requiring proof of paternity, you may be in it for the long haul. Family court judges are extremely reluctant to disturb successful child support agreements, particularly if the biological father of the child is unable to pull their weight or simply cannot be located. Moreover, the courts place an enhanced priority on the most vulnerable of our citizens, the minor child. If you have already been paying child support, you may also have formed a relationship with that child, which the family courts are likely not eager to disturb.
Taking into account the above information, you would be extremely unwise to accept paternity without proof. You can expect indignant protestations from the mother, but if you don't take steps to ensure that a DNA test is performed, you may end up regretting it later. Not only will proof of paternity give you some assurance, but taking responsibility for a baby that is not yours could result in the real biological father being completely left out of the picture. Keep in mind that you can still care for, spend time with and love the child without taking legal responsibility for that child. You can even voluntarily contribute to the child's health and well-being with financial help.
Consult with a family law attorney like Ivy Law Group PLLC to learn more about paternity testing and your rights.