If you are served papers from the County of San Diego suing you for paternity, you need to know your rights. First, you should know that if you are unable to afford counsel, the court may appoint an attorney to represent you on the issue of paternity only. That attorney will be able to explain your rights and obligations to you before you sign any admissions or agreements.
From what you can tell from the complaint, they are saying you make at least minimum wage of $1,387.00 a month and can afford to pay $309.00 for one child in addition to one-half day care, one-half uncovered health care costs and provide health insurance. How are you going to survive if you have to pay that amount? If you do not make $1,387.00 per month or you do not make the amount stated in the Complaint, you need to let the court know that. If you don’t tell the court, no one will and you might find your wages being garnished for $309.00, if not more. And, if you do not make enough money to pay the amount ordered, arrears build up and you end up owing a fortune you cannot ever hope to pay. Make sure you seek counsel to advise you of your rights and obligations from the beginning. Don’t ignore the lawsuit thinking it will not affect you.
There is intense pressure on states to obtain and enforce child support orders. California has taken the issue extremely seriously. If you have a child support order, pay it! If you cannot pay it because you have lost your job or become disabled, go into court and modify the order. Do not think that just because you can’t afford to pay it, it goes away. The order remains in effect at the ordered amount unless you take some action to change it. If you don’t pay, not only will you owe the support, you will owe interest on the support. Interest is currently set at 10% per annum which means every month you don’t pay interest is added to the amount you owe. It adds up quickly.
Even if you think you have an agreement with the custodial parent that you do not have to pay support, get an order. Unless you have modified the order, there is nothing to prevent the custodial parent from collecting the arrears that may be owed.
The Law Offices of Kim Marie Staron can advise you as to your rights and options on these and other family law issues. Please call for a free half-hour telephone consultation or complete the Contact Us form below.