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Are Fathers Responsible for Child Support After Accidental Pregnancies?

When it comes to unplanned pregnancies, we are all familiar with “the woman’s right to choose,” but mothers can make choices that fathers disagree with. When this happens, fathers are still required to support their children financially.

Journalists at Slate and father’s rights advocates may question whether this is fair for men, but in matters involving children, family law courts are not concerned with what is fair for the parents. Instead, the court will always act in the best interest of the child in question, and in child support cases, financial support from both parents is always in the best interest of the child in question.

Once a child is born, their parents are responsible for his or her legal and financial upbringing. Mothers get parental rights and responsibilities the moment they give birth, and fathers get these rights and responsibilities the moment paternity is established.

About Paternity

When a child is born, it is obvious who the mother is (because she is usually the one giving birth), but the identity of the father may be unknown. If a married woman gives birth, the woman’s husband is presumed to be the father. If an unmarried woman gives birth, paternity must be established. The baby’s father can establish paternity by signing an affidavit or declaration, or the mother can file a civil paternity action in family court.

If there is any doubt about a child’s paternity, or the father does not want to admit the child is his, the court may order genetic testing for the mother, the father, and the baby. If the blood tests indicate paternity, the child’s biological (and legal) parentage will be established.

Can I Get Out of Paying Child Support?

Once you have been established as a child’s parent, the only way to avoid a child support obligation is to terminate your parental rights, but as long as the child is proven to be yours, you cannot terminate your parental rights without permission from the other parent and approval from the court. Again, family law courts will always prioritize the best interests of your child, so unless you are unable to care for your child financially, you will owe child support.

Expect the Unexpected

If you do not want to pay child support, you should not have a child. If you do not want to have a child, you should talk to your partner before having sex. Birth control is affordable, and some options are 99% effective. With many methods, you can even double up and use a condom, which is 85% effective and costs $0 to $2 (you can get condoms for free in some clinics) as a backup method. It may not seem sexy or romantic, but you can also talk to your partner about what you would do if you accidentally conceived a child. If you and your partner disagree, or your partner refuses to use birth control, you can choose not to have sex.

Even if your partner gets pregnant, talking about the situation can go a long way. Although women always make the final decision when it comes to abortion, your opinion can influence that decision.

What Are My Rights and Responsibilities as a Parent?

If all else fails, and an unplanned pregnancy leads to the birth of your child, you will have parental rights and responsibilities as soon as you or the child’s mother establishes paternity. As a parent, you have the right to make decisions about your child’s medical care, education, and future – and the right to spend time with your child. Whether you choose to spend time with your child or not, you are responsible for your child’s basic needs, including food, water, shelter, and clothing. If you do not have physical custody of your child, you will need to provide for these needs financially instead, hence child support.

For more information about your rights and responsibilities as a parent, please speak to an attorney. Our lawyers at Krusch Law, PLLC are here to help, and we can also help both fathers and mothers establish paternity.

We have more than 40 years of legal experience, and our lead attorney is a board-certified specialist in family law.

Whether you want to create a child support order that works for you, modify an existing child support order, or establish parentage, our firm is here for you.

Call us at (704) 343-8811 or contact us online to request a consultation today.