Don't Be Too Quick To Claim Paternity

If you've recently been caught off-guard by a partner's proclamation of an impending pregnancy, you may now be dealing with a wide variety of feelings. While becoming a father can be a joyful event, it may not necessarily be intentional or planned, leaving you feeling somewhat confused about your future. While your intentions to support this new bundle of joy may be well-meaning, your acceptance of this emotional and financial burden might be misguided. Read on to learn more about ensuring that you aren't making a big mistake when it comes to claiming paternity.

Are you actually the father?

While it may be a difficult concept to accept, it's vital that you verify paternity. If you simply go along with the allegation without requiring any proof, you might be committing yourself to a lifetime of child support payments and the support of a child. Every child deserves love and care, regardless of the circumstances, but if you accept this assignment without asking for DNA analysis, you may actually be depriving the real biological father of his rights to support and have a relationship with that child.

Government aid and paternity

If the mother of the baby applies for any type of government assistance, such as WIC (Women Infants Children) or housing assistance, she may be asked to name the father of the child. That is because the government uses these types of programs as a screening aid to help identify fathers who should be paying child support. Fathers who pay child support decreases the need for the government to step in and help. If you get named as a father and you fail to dispute it, you might be committing yourself to 18 or more years of paying child support for a child that is not yours.

The child support commitment

The family court system takes the supporting of minor children very seriously, and when you are ordered to make those payments you have very little choice but to comply. If you get behind on payments or stop paying, you could face some serious punishments. Deadbeat parents can face everything from wage garnishment, liens on a property, and driver's license revocation to arrest and jail time.

Don't put it off

If you have been named as a father and you have reason to doubt it, don't simply accept the responsibility and begin paying. Once you are in place as the father, the family court system will be reluctant to disturb the financial (and emotional) benefit to the child, even if you later on prove that you are not the biological father.

Protect your paternity rights by discussing this situation with a law office like Marlene Dancer Adams