California residents who are concerned about child support should keep in mind that paternity tests are now a requirement in many cases. Paternity tests help resolve any questions of parentage and ensure that the correct father is responsible for child support. In some cases, DNA tests can also be used to relieve a man of his responsibility to pay child support.

When a child’s parents are unmarried, support issues can emerge if the relationship ends. Unless a man has been legally determined to be the father, his name does not necessarily have to be listed on the birth certificate. Once the man has legally acknowledged he is the child’s father, or once a court has determined this with a paternity test, he will be required to pay child support. The court may also grant the father visitation rights and, in some cases, custody of the child.

A paternity test can absolve an alleged father of his responsibility if he is found to be unrelated to the child. In some cases, however, a paternity test can hold a father who is refusing to pay child support responsible. This has happened with several celebrities, including Mick Jagger and Steve Jobs. While many paternity tests are taken voluntarily, a judge can issue a paternity test if there is reason to believe a father is attempting to dodge his responsibility.

Parents who have questions about child support should consider working with an attorney experienced in family law. Legal counsel may be able to prove to a judge that an alleged father should get a paternity test, leading to child support payments. An attorney may also be able to help a parent who proves paternity get a favorable custodial agreement.