What if I am not married to the parent of my child?
The first thing any father should do if not married to the mother of their child is to register in the Putative Father Registry. Then the procedure to legally establish your rights and obligations is called a Petition to Establish Paternity. If there is doubt as to who the biological father is, then the court can order that paternity be established through scientific testing. Once Paternity has been established and, if the parties cannot agree, child support and visitation issues will be decided by the Court.
What if the children born during the marriage are not the children of both parties?
Children born during the parties’ marriage are presumed to be the children of the parties unless that presumption is rebutted by proof that someone else is the parent. That proof can be in the form of a blood test/DNA result or other testimony or proof, but in general scientific testing is the best evidence. Note that it would be extremely difficult to come back after the divorce and allege that a child was not the child of the parties.
Can I get child support, alimony, or timesharing modified later?
Yes, child support, alimony, and timesharing of the children can be modified at a later time if the facts support such a requested modification. Usually, one must show a “substantial change in circumstances” such as one party’s income increases markedly, or that your income or financial situation has changed substantially to support a request to modify an order of child support or alimony. Alimony is usually ended upon remarriage of the party receiving the alimony, but a court may reduce or terminate the alimony when the recipient is residing with someone in a “supportive” relationship. There are numerous factors that the court will consider in deciding whether a “supportive” relationship exists, such as whether the couple hold themselves out as husband and wife, and the nature of their financial dealings. A modification of the timesharing with the minor children will require showing a substantial change in circumstances and that the proposed change is in the best interest of the minor child(ren).
What if my spouse does not report all of his income or is not earning as much as he/she could with regard to calculating child support and alimony?
Courts can “impute” income to a spouse. What that means is that if it is shown that they are capable of making more than they earn, the Court will calculate the child support or alimony as if they made the higher amount. Also, if the spouse is making money under the table or otherwise not reporting all income, it will be your burden to show that this is occurring. (so that they will have to pay the proper amount of child support or alimony.)
For more information, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Rooney & Rooney, P.A.