The landscape of the American family has changed considerably in recent decades. It is no longer uncommon for children to grow up in households in which only one parent is present. For men who become fathers but who choose to not remain with their child’s mother, a unique set of legal issues apply. In many cases, child support becomes a topic of concern, and many Texas men hold misconceptions about the process of providing for their child.
In some scenarios, parents who are no longer involved in a romantic relationship are able to work out issues of child custody and support on their own, outside of court. However, this can present problems down the road, if and when child support becomes a matter of contention. For men who regularly pay for the care and needs of their children, it is essential to keep solid records that demonstrate those efforts.
If the matter is brought before a court, the ability to prove that child support has been in place can help avoid a judgement that could force a father to pay back child support. Many men falsely believe that any support paid before an order is in place is simply not counted. This, however, is not accurate. Having good records that are clear and organized will allow a father to prove that he has been supporting his child, even when there was no court order compelling him to do so.
Unwed fathers who are concerned about how existing Texas child support laws could apply to their scenario and want to learn more should arrange a meeting with a family law attorney to discuss the best course of action. While there are a wide range of parenting arrangements that can meet the needs of all parties, it is important that parents protect their financial interests in regard to child support, whether it is received or paid. Making just a few small changes in the way that expenses are paid can have a great deal of benefit in the long run, if the matter goes before a court.
Source: ABC Action News, Five important things that unwed fathers need to know, Yvette Harrell, Oct. 8, 2013