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Do you have to establish paternity to get child support?


The cost of raising a child is not going down. In fact, it is getting more and more expensive to raise a child to adulthood in the United States. The cost of healthcare, education and child care all factor into these rising expenses. Therefore, it is important that Rhode Island children get the financial support they need from both their parents. It often takes both parents to ensure that the child's needs are met. When parents are married, both parents automatically have this responsibly.

When children are born to unmarried parents, the situation can be more complicated. The Rhode Island Office of Child Support Services says that more than 50 percent of Rhode Island children do not have a father listed on their birth certificate. This can be a problem when it comes to collecting child support.

According to the Officer of Child Support Services, a child must have a legal father before child support can be established. In other words, paternity must be determined before child support can be ordered. In fact, paternity is important for a variety of legal rights including the right to financial support, right to social security benefits, right to medical coverage, right to inheritance and right to have a child-father relationship.

In Rhode Island, paternity can be established in many ways. These include signing an Affidavit of Paternity which voluntarily admits paternity. This can be done at the hospital when a child is born or at a later date. A DNA test can also be performed, or the issue can be adjudicated through the courts.

Once paternity is established, the child is automatically entitled to child support. The mother of the child can ask for past child support for up to the last six years once paternity is established.

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Law Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq

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