I wanted to know if I could be required to pay back child support for a child that I never knew existed. I just found out that I could be the father of a 16 year old child. I am in the process of having a paternity test done to confirm that I am the father?
Yes, it is possible if paternity has been established and the child’s mother would file a paternity suit in court and seek child support.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT
Can a child support case be established if the parent has disappeared for quite some time (let’s say, a few years)?
Yes. But for parents, who are seeking child custody from a missing parent, be prepared to face the fact that it maybe difficult to track the other one down.
Tracking Down the Missing Parent
The Local Child Support Agencies (LCSA) will be the group that will try to locate the parent being asked for support or non-custodial party (NCP). It is important for parents/parties seeking child support to provide as much information as they can to the LCSA so they will know where they could start looking. By law, the LCSA is required to take the appropriate action within 75 days of receiving any information about the NCP.
Below are some public records that the LCSA may use to track down the NCP:
• DMV records (vehicle registration records and driver’s license records)
• Employment and unemployment records
• Credit reports
• Social services records
• U.S. Postal Service
• Parole, Probation and any type of law enforcement record
• Military records
• State Licensing boards
Once the NCP is found, time to establish paternity. There are points to consider when establishing paternity:
a) If during the pregnancy, the parents were married. It is presumed that the husband was the one who impregnated his wife (unless contested) and paternity is established without resulting into any form of legal action.
b) If the couple was not married and was just dating when the pregnancy occurred, it may result to 2 things: 1) the biological father has no problems admitting and acknowledges he was part of the pregnancy process or 2) the man would deny being the father and the mother has to file suit to ask a court order for paternity (genetic) testing in order to collect child support.
Collecting Child Support
Going back to the NCP who has been missing for a long time or the party who has chosen to run away and not provide child support — once the LCSA has found the NCP, established the paternity (either voluntarily or by court order); expect the following things to occur in the event that the party seeking child support files a suit in court:
a. The NCP will receive a child support order issued by the court.
b. The LCSA will issue the NCP’s employer an Income Withholding Order (meaning this gives the NCP’s employer the right to hold the NCP’s income).
c. The NCP’s employer will deduct the child support payments and forward it to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU).
d. The child support payment is processed by the SDU within 2 business days and is sent to the party seeking support via Direct Deposit, Electronic Payment Card (EPC) and Check.
In the event that the NCP moves out of California, all states and majority of foreign countries or jurisdictions have child support agencies that can enforce the child support order. Even though, the laws maybe different from state to state, these child support agencies have a network and regularly assist each other to locate the missing NCPs, assess their assets and collect current and past-due payments. Even if you are in a different jurisdiction or state, it is mandated by Federal Law that the enactment of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) that all child support agencies nationwide can work together, enforce and collect child support orders.