Kevin Qualls Family Law
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How might an unmarried parent in California pursue child support?

In California, each parent shares an equal obligation to provide financially for their child. Child support, of course, is not an issue for married parents, but for unmarried parents who are no longer in a relationship with one another, child support becomes an issue they must address. When an unmarried parent is seeking child support he or she must move the court for an order to establish both paternity and subsequently child support.

There are four types of cases in which a parent (either one) can move the court to enact a child support order. The first type of case is if a couple is getting a divorce, a legal separation or if their marriage is being annulled. A child support order will be included in the final divorce decree.

If the child's parents are not married, either parent can seek a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship, to seek child support. If a parent is seeking a domestic violence restraining order, whether that parent is married or not, he or she can also seek a child support order. Finally, a parent can seek child support through a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children if the child's parents are married and do not wish to legally separate or divorce or if the child's parents have signed a voluntary Declaration of Paternity.

Once a court-ordered child support arrangement is set, child support will be paid either until the child turns age 18 or 19, if he or she is still in high school full time, lives at home and is unable to support him or herself. In the end, if a parent wants to seek child support, it may be best for him or her to consult with an attorney, to determine the best means to achieve a fair and appropriate child support order.

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