Child Support Help for Men

By Chris Blank

If you are presently not living with the mother of your children, you may be dealing with child support issues. If you are having difficulty meeting your financial child support obligations or you have other problems concerning child support, help is available. Fathers' rights organizations, state local agencies and even the federal government provide resources to help fathers resolve their child support issues.

Support and Visitation

In nearly all cases that do not involve domestic violence or abuse, the courts will grant you some legal right to see your children. The courts consider visitation and support to be separate issues. Your children's mother cannot deny you the right to see your children even if you are behind in your child support payments. However, if you withhold child support payments as an attempt to gain leverage with your children's' mother, the Internal Revenue Service may seize any tax refunds to which you may be entitled. In extreme cases, you may be jailed for failure to pay child support.

Paternity

If you were not married to a child's mother, the courts may release you from the obligation to pay child support. However, you must first prove that you are not the child's biological father through DNA testing. On the other hand, if you were married to a child's mother when the child was born, many courts will presume you are the father and obligate you to pay child support. This may occur even if DNA testing later proves that you are not a child's biological father. If you signed the birth certificate or an acknowledgment of paternity, or if you assumed the role of the child's father, some courts may consider it in the best interests of the child to oblige you to continue to fulfill this obligation.

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Adoption

If your child's mother marries another man who legally adopts her children, you may be released from further obligation to pay child support. However, depending on the laws of your state, you may have to legally relinquish your parental rights, and in some cases your child must consent to the adoption.

Recalculation

If you or your child's mother have a significant change in personal or financial circumstances, you may petition the court to lower your child support payment. For instance, if you lose your job, or if you remarry and start a family with your new wife, or if your child's mother receives a significant raise, you may seek reduced child support payments. However, you cannot petition the court to reduce your child support payments simply because you disagree with how your child's mother spends the money, nor can you stop making child support payments. Contempt charges are the means to handle instances where a custodial parent is improperly diverting money meant for child support.

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Can a Noncustodial Parent Lose Visitation for Nonpayment of Child Support?

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Laws on False Paternity

DNA testing is increasingly common and accurate, increasing many people's awareness that the purported father of a child is not always the child's biological father. Legal paternity is the recognition by the government that a man is a child's father. False paternity occurs when a man is inaccurately represented as the child's father, which may be due to an inadvertent error or deliberate misrepresentation. Paternity laws are similar in each state, but each state has minor variations, so consult local laws before pursuing a paternity action.

What Happens If You Get Behind on Child Support Payments?

If you've lost your job or suffered a financial catastrophe, chances are that you're barely able to make your child support payments. You might even have fallen behind on them. Unlike credit card and car payments, paying child support is a legal obligation backed by court order. While each state has its own child support enforcement methods, many of the penalties imposed for falling behind on payments are similar from state to state.

If My Girlfriend Had Our Baby, Does She Have Custody?

Once your girlfriend has your baby, she is the full custodian of the child until you legally establish you're the father. Although custody laws vary among states, a child born to unmarried parents doesn't have a legal father until paternity is established, leaving the mother as the automatic custodial parent.

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