Child support is a highly disputed issue in divorce that usually comes after child custody. The court typically awards child support to the spouse maintaining primary physical custody. The agreed financial support should allow the custodial parent to continue to give the child the same standard of living they had during the marriage, even after the divorce. However, unmarried parents also have the right to receive financial support.
California law states that parents must share the financial responsibility for raising their children, even when they call it quits. You did not have to be married to each other. You did not have to divorce each other. The other parent must still give you child support even when you decide to part ways. You and the parent can decide on the regular monthly amount together.
What happens when the other parent refuses to pay child support?
Before a court can award child support to any unmarried parent, they must verify the child’s parentage. Determining the child’s mother is straightforward, but establishing paternity can be tricky when the parents are not married. An unmarried father could automatically assume legal and financial obligations by signing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. Signing this means he accepts the responsibility to raise the child and provide support whenever necessary. The father can also refuse to sign the document, in which case you can take your petition to court.
If one of the unmarried parents disputes the paternity of the child, the court can order the father to take a DNA test. Once the DNA test authenticates parentage, the court can order that parent to pay child support.
It takes two to make a child
Just because you and the other parent were never married, does not discount the fact that you are both accountable for bringing the child into the world. California courts will always prioritize the best interests of the child and you should too. You should not have to raise the child without the financial support you deserve.