As a single father, you will have multiple opportunities, unfortunately, to have issues arise with regards to your child and the parenting plan and child support. But there are seven common mistakes made by single fathers in San Diego than can result in devastating long-term consequences for you and your child. It is important to analyze without emotion and only in accord with the law to try and obtain the best outcome.
Mistake #1: Being too Quick to Acknowledge Paternity
Some men have made an acknowledge of paternity in San Diego even if they seriously doubt the truth of the mother's claim. Still others will knowingly falsify birth records, incorrectly assuming that if the relationship later ends, they can use the genetic truth to avoid further responsibility for child support. This can be done to keep the relationship with the mother on going and to avoid conflict and tension and for many other reasons.
Mistake #2: Waiting too Long to Ask for Paternity Testing
While paternity is usually established as a result of DNA testing, California does recognize several exceptions. One of those exceptions can occur when a man has accepted a child into his home and acknowledged a parent/child relationship. This can result in a long-term child support obligation even if there is no biological relationship. Many fathers do not know this and believe that, if they are no longer in the relationship and the DNA test shows that they are not the biological father, that they can then terminate the parent child relationship and stop seeing the child and stop paying support however this is not always true under San Diego paternity law.
Mistake #3: Delaying Bonding with Your Child Due to Doubts
For many single fathers, it is difficult to establish a bonding relationship with an infant, especially if they doubt their paternity. But delaying the establishment of the relationship can hinder the relationship in the future. The law only looks to the best interests of the child and factors such as stability and bonding are crucial when the parents cannot come to a parenting plan and the Court must order one. As such, staying away from your child due to not being sure this is your child is not a good strategy for the long term.
Mistake #4: Ducking Paternity
Many single fathers go to great efforts to duck paternity findings. Some common tactics include working under the table, skipping court-ordered hearings or testing appointments, and failing to exercise visitation rights with the child. The Court can order a judgment of paternity if there is a "default" and the father does not file the proper response and participate in the court proceedings.
Mistake #5: Agreeing to Higher than Guideline Support
While most support determinations are made according to established California guidelines in San Diego, another extreme is the father who agrees to a higher amount (usually in a misguided attempt to "prove" his love.) This usually results in at least two negative consequences: the father is unable to maintain the higher level and ultimately falls behind which results in resentment at best and legal consequences at worst. Often, there is no way to recover any payments above what would have been the court ordered amount.
Mistake # 6: Failing to Develop a Relationship With your Child
It is a known fact that children have a deep-seated emotional need to have both parents in their lives. A quality relationship takes time to develop. By the time your child is a teenager, it's too late to fix a damaged parental relationship and this may occur much sooner than the teenage years.. Emotional damage can affect your child's education, behavior, and lifetime mental and emotional health. This can also leave the father feeling "disenfranchised" which can lead to other issues.
Mistake #7: Not Obtaining Legal Advice in a Timely Manner
Paternity encompasses a number of legal and emotional issues that can have a dramatic long-term effect on your life. Making the wrong decision now could cost you thousands of dollars throughout the rest of your life.
Find an attorney who will put your interests ahead of all else and who has the experience, education and training to give you the best advice for your case. The best way to avoid wrong decisions and common paternity mistakes is to consult a knowledgeable San Diego divorce lawyer as soon as possible. For a free initial consultation about paternity issues, your rights and responsibilities, call our office at 858-312-8500