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Should unwed dads get a paternity test before paying support?

The “average” family doesn’t always fit into the nuclear definition. Blended families with unwed parents, children born outside of marriage or children from a previous relationship are quite common, and the adults are more than willing to voluntarily take on traditional parental obligations.

What happens when the relationship changes? Under Louisiana law, paternity must be established before a mother can legally force a father to pay child support. What if the father willingly agrees to pay? Should he be concerned with taking a paternity test first?

The best answer is to consult an attorney before making any major family decisions. The generic answer is, yes, a father should consider taking a paternity test prior to making any support payments.

A man may voluntarily decide to give money to a mother because he truly cares about her well-being or the child’s well-being. He may know whether he is or isn’t the biological father or he may not care. The problem is that he could be signing on for a lifetime obligation without even knowing it.

If it is later determined that he is not the biological father, a court may require that he continues to make support payments based on the fact that he has made them in the past.

If you are considering making child support payments as an unwed parent, it is important that you discuss your situation with a family law attorney. The attorney can counsel you on your rights and help you make sure that your interests are protected moving forward.

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