Child support is the amount of money one parent pays to another to cover their child’s needs. This is valid so long as the money is legally owed to the other parent. When a person pays child support for a child or children who are not his, it may be considered unlawful. Thus, “unlawful child support” may be defined as payments made for financial support of a child when not legally bound to do so.
How Is Child Support Determined?
Child support is often determined during a divorce. When parents are not married, it is determined when one parent files a petition to establish child support. Typically, paternity must be established before the noncustodial parent pays child support. Failure to establish paternity may also result in unlawful child support charges.
Child support amount calculations may be determined according to many factors, including:
- Each parent’s income
- The child’s needs and requirements
- State laws and statutes
How Is Paternity Established?
If a couple is married, there is a presumption of paternity. This means the court assumes the husband is the father of the child. Presumption of fatherhood can also occur when a man who is not married to the mother treats the child as his own. Otherwise, paternity is established in court based on a preponderance of the evidence. When determining paternity in court, the court may consider factors such as:
- DNA testing
- Legal declaration
- Birth certificates
- Circumstantial evidence
When Can Child Support Payments Become Unlawful?
Child support payments may be considered unlawful if:
- The paying person is not legally required to make child support payments
- The recipient parent willfully accepts illegal payments
- Payments are made in such a way that circumvent the channels for payment prescribed by the court
Unlawful child support can lead to various penalties, including: contempt of court issues, fines, and possible criminal charges.
Should I Hire an Attorney for Help with Unlawful Child Support Issues?
Child support laws are very strict and are regulated very closely. You may wish to hire a family law attorney if you need legal assistance with any types of child support issues. Whether you are paying child support or receiving child support, you need to make sure that the payments are lawful. Your attorney can provide you with legal assistance and research to help determine your rights and options.