If you are a residential parent, filing to receive child support, or a non-residential parent who has been served with a petition for child support, there are three things you need to know about child support litigation.
#1: Parentage: DNA Test or VAP
The Court needs to determine who the parents of the minor child are, before child support can be ordered. These are the individuals who are obligated for the support of the minor child. This is determined by establishing parentage.
One way parentage can be established, is through the execution of a “DNA” test. You can request the Court order a DNA test to determine paternity, if you are not sure you are the father.
Another way parentage can be established, is through the signing of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (also referred to as a “VAP”). Often, this is signed on or around the day the child is born. However a VAP can be executed at any time. When you sign a VAP, you are acknowledging you are the biological parent of the minor child.
Signing a VAP is a serious thing. If you are considering signing a VAP, an attorney can advise you of your options.
#2: Both parents have an obligation to support the minor child
Often, “child support” is associated with “deadbeat dads.” However, both parents have an obligation to provide support for the minor child – not just the father. The court takes into consideration both parties' incomes when allocating child support.
Factors that can affect each parties' obligation toward child support are each party's amount of parenting time, income, and which party supplies healthcare for the child.
An attorney can assist in calculating the statutory amount of child support each party would be likely to owe and advise you whether you may qualify for a deviation in child support.
Often, the Court will order retroactive child support – sometimes referred to as “backpay.” Most judges only “go back” retroactively through the date of the filing of the case. However, some people may ask that retroactive support be paid back until the date of the child's birth.
Whether you are wondering if you can request retroactive child support, or are wondering how much retroactive child support you may be required to pay, an attorney can advise you of your options and how the law pertains to you.
Contact The Diggs Law Firm today and Get Your Voice Heard: 312-380-1070.
Written by: Erik B. Diggs