Women who become unexpectedly pregnant often find themselves stymied by the soon-to-be father’s reaction. Sometimes the father doesn’t want to be involved and will simply distance himself from the mother, the pregnancy and the child once he or she is born.
That includes not wanting to pay child support. Some fathers may even go so far as to question or outright deny their paternity.
If you’re a mother who needs help collecting child support from a reluctant father, what can you do? Follow these steps:
- Take the necessary actions to establish paternity. If the father won’t voluntarily acknowledge his paternity, you can request help through the local child support enforcement agency or family court to establish paternity through genetic testing. The testing is harmless to the child and the father will be compelled by court order to comply.
- You’ll need to approach the local family court to get a support order. While each state has a formula that is used to establish the amount of a parent’s income that is deemed to be for the child’s care, parents can come to an agreement for more or less than that amount outside of court. If reasonable, the judge may agree to the amount.
- Collecting the child support can often be more difficult than any other task — especially if the father didn’t want the responsibility in the first place. If possible, the best method to collect support is through direct withholding. That deducts the money from the father’s paycheck automatically.
Women sometimes find that reluctant fathers will go to extreme lengths to avoid paying. In those cases, you may need legal help to collect child support that you’re owed.
The court can often help track down a father that’s trying to remain hidden. It can also collect money from the father’s tax return or other federal income payments, such as disability benefits or retirement, or report a father as a “deadbeat dad” and enforce other penalties as necessary.