Virginia laws impose a legal obligation on parents to support their children. In fact, parents living in Poquoson who fail to provide for the support of their children who are younger than 18 years of age may be charged with committing a criminal offense. The challenge for Yorktown family law attorneys, particularly in situations involving unmarried couples, may be in determining the identity of the father.
Mistakes may occur that lead to the wrong person being identified as the father of a child and ordered to pay child support. Once the truth becomes known, a Newport News man erroneously ordered to pay child support cannot simply stop making payments and should consult with a Yorktown child support attorney.
The law presumes that when a married woman gives birth, she and her husband are the parents of the child and equally share the support obligation. Divorce attorneys understand how the same presumption applies to married couples that separated or were divorced prior to the birth of the child as long as the separation or divorce occurred within 300 days of the birth.
If the parents of a child are not married, the identity of the father can be determined in ways other than through a presumption of paternity. Williamsburg courts may consider evidence of the following in order to establish that a man is the father of a child:
- He cohabited with the child’s mother for the 10-month period immediately preceding the birth of the child.
- He consented to his name being entered on the child’s birth certificate as the father.
- He allowed the child to use his surname.
- He acknowledged in open court that he was the father.
- He listed the child on an income tax return as his dependent.
- He signed a sworn acknowledgment of paternity.
- He took a DNA test, and the results statistically prove he is the father.