There are some situations in which a father is not made aware that he has parental rights or responsibilities to a child. For example, a father might not learn that he is the biological parent to a child until many years after a child’s birth. Other times, an unwed father might be involved with a child’s birth but not provide regular financial support for the child. Other times, a man might know that a child is his and pay reliable and substantial financial support.
In each of these situations, a mother might legally require a father to declare his paternity of the child, which may result in an obligation for him to pay monthly child support. One of the most common questions that fathers ask in this situation is whether they are required to pay “back” or “retroactive” child support.
Georgia Laws and Retroactive Child Support
Many states recognize the concept of back child support, but unfortunately for some mothers in the state, Georgia does not. Although there are a limited number of situations in which a custodial parent can receive compensation from a non-custodial parent for care associated with a minor child, courts in Georgia are unlikely to award custodial parents compensation for child care that was provided during a time that child support was not in place.
This perspective on retroactive child support arises from long established Georgia law that states it is the duty of each parent for a child who is born out of “wedlock” to provide for the child’s education, maintenance, and protection until that child reaches adult age.
In the 1990 case of Weaver v. Chester, Georgia courts addressed the issue of whether a parent is allowed to request that a father, after paternity is established, reimburse the other parent for costs that were paid to care for a child. The court in this case held that a mother is legally authorized to make this type of request, but is only allowed to request reimbursement for expenses to the degree of costs that were actually paid. A mother is unable to receive compensation for what she might have paid to care for a child. As a result of this decision, mothers can receive compensation based on the amounts that were incurred for medical costs as well as other expenses related to the birth of a child.
Over the course of the last few decades, courts have interpreted this decision to mean that a father might be found 100% responsible for pregnancy and birth associated costs.
Contact a Seasoned Family Law Attorney Today
Georgia does not provide retroactive child support, which means that it is often in the best interest of a mother to establish paternity as soon as possible. This is why following a child’s birth, it is often a wise idea to quickly contact an experienced attorney who can make sure that you receive child support as soon as possible. Speak with an attorney at Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. to schedule an initial free consultation.