Child Support Laws: Acknowledgment of Paternity
- If a child's parents were married at the time of birth, the husband is legally considered to be the father.
- If a child's parents were unmarried at the time of birth, paternity must be acknowledged by the father.
- Paternity can be acknowledged voluntarily in a written statement. In cases of doubt or dispute, genetic testing might be required.
- In some states, failure of an alleged father to submit to genetic testing or appear at a court hearing can prompt the court to establish his paternity by default.
- Once paternity is established, a child-support order can be executed. Support is based proportionally on salary and assets.
- Federal law allows states to enforce child-support orders. Failure to pay can lead to serious consequences, including a revoking of occupational and driver's licenses, denial of a passport, and criminal charges.