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Who is Responsible for Child Support if the Father is Underage?


JulieC's picture

By JulieC - Posted on 07 April 2009

When an underage boy gets an underage girl pregnant, the first question after “How did this happen?” is often “Who is going to help to support the baby?”  Soon to be grandparents want to know if the father, or the father’s parents will be legally responsible for helping to support the new baby that will soon be arriving, or has already arrived into the family.

The first thing that needs to be done is a paternity test, to make sure that the alleged father is truly the father of the baby.  Once that test has been completed and the father has been named beyond doubt, the mother of the baby needs to file for child support. 

The court may not award much child support, due to a teenagers limited ability to pay, however the father is not going to walk away scot free simply because he is underage. Once you are man enough to practice making babies, you are man enough to financially support them. The amount of child support will be calculated based on the incomes of the teenagers' families, as well as the teens' individual earning potential.  

Some parents may choose to make their teen son take on a job to pay the child support, while others may allow the teen to continue to focus on school and pay the child support for him. As long as the mother of the baby is receiving child support payments, she should not be concerned whether the money is coming directly from the father, or from his parents.  Don't get caught up in needless baby mama drama!

It is important to keep in mind that child support and visitation are two separate issues, and that a child should never be withheld or used as leverage to obtain child support payments.  The young parents may need counseling to learn how to co-parent their new child together even if they are no longer a couple, so that their child can have a healthy and strong attachment to both of his/her parents. 

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Image Credit: stuartpillbrow

 

 

faitha's picture

Thanks for covering this topic! I was wondering about this.

I watch the TV Show, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," and Ricky (the birth father) is only 16 years old. I am not sure how much child support he is responsible for, but it couldn't be much since he is just in high school.

Interesting topic.

- Faith

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We must BE the change we wish to see in the world. - Ghandi

John's picture

I had an 18 yo become a father in an 'unplanned' manner. Child support was based on his income, as he was an adult. If a 17 yo becomes a Dad, his parents income is partly used to determine child support (as is the Moms parents income). That is the easy part. What happens when the baby's parents both pass 18? Are the incomes of the two families still part of the support calculation, or is it now just the two parents of the baby? It could easily result in support high enough that the young father would not be able to pay it for years to come.

Tricia Littlejohn's picture

There was a very interesting news tidbits that and the other day about the same very thing but pertaining to new york child support and kids that have to pay child support for other kids. Interestingly enough, it seems that it doesn't matter your age as long as you are over a median age of about 16 years old, you still have to pay child support.

It seems like kids these days have to grow up very fast to abide by the law.

-Tricia