Having a child outside of marriage is not as taboo today as it once was. In fact, many unmarried couples in Virginia have a child, and they are both good parents, raising the child in a healthy and happy environment. However, if their relationship sours and they end up breaking up, they will still face the issue of child support, just like a married couple would.
If the couple was married when the child was born, the husband is legally presumed to be the child's father. However, this legal presumption does not exist for unmarried fathers. In order for an unmarried father to be considered a child's parent for legal purposes, paternity will need to be established. Sometimes this is done voluntarily when the child is born by a legal Acknowledgement of Paternity. However, if this is not done, parents might need to turn to the court for a DNA test to establish paternity.
Establishing paternity is especially important when it comes to seeking child support. If a mother wishes to seek child support, she can only do so from the child's legal father. Conversely, if a father wants to seek child support from the child's mother or pay child support himself, he must be established as the child's legal father.
If an unmarried father in Virginia denies paternity, he may be keeping his child from receiving the financial resources needed to grow up in a safe and stable environment. Both parents in Virginia have the duty to support their child financially. The custodial parent does this by having the child reside with them, and the non-custodial parent does this by paying child support. At our firm, we believe the child's best interests come first. Therefore, we will work to establish paternity when necessary, to see that the child's financial needs are being met. Our child support overview may be a good jumping-off point for parents who want to learn more about how an attorney can provide assistance in paternity and child support cases.