Ask A Lawyer: Isn’t The Paternal Father Responsible For Child Support?

Question:

I have received an order from a judge stating "to stop wage withholding and abate child support based upon evidence of no parent child relationship" Missouri DSS has stopped enforcing my child support, but I have asked them several times to completely close my case and they won’t. I have spoken with the biological father frequently and he has no problem paying child support, but the child’s mother won’t open up a new child support case on him. I told DSS that the mother of the child was getting state assistance and that it was DSS’s responsibility to close my case so they can open up a child support case on the biological father. They just keep telling me that the judge ‘s order did not state to close the case so they can’t. What can I provide to them or what can I do so that they will close my child support case completely?

 

Answer:

The wage withholding and child support abatement is separate from the determination of paternity or non-paternity.  The language you have quoted usually means the child support is temporarily halted (abated).  It is unclear from your inquiry as to what caused the issuance of this order. 

Until such time as a court issues a final determination that you are legally not the father of the child, the support issue may remain unresolved and you may be liable for child support in the future.  Whether the biological father is determined to be the father or is required to pay child support may not be relevant to your paternity case and termination of support depending upon the circumstances.

If you have not been involved in the legal proceedings that generated the order or did not have legal representation in the proceedings, you should consult a qualified domestic litigation firm to review the status and advise you as to the issues and options for resolving the paternity and child support issue.

 

Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues. 

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