Can I be forced to paid child support if I just graduated college and currently unemployed?

I just graduated and do not hold a job currently. I have not had a real job and have not filed for taxes through out my life with the exception of one time. I come from a low income family and live at home. I am now trying to find a decent job but it’s difficult right now. The mother has come out of no where and is now threatening me with child support. When we found out she was pregnant, I told her I could not do this and did not want any part in it if she decided to keep it. She said OK and was fine with it and mentioned she never wanted money. However, now she’s here (we had a fling thing). How much would I pay? Can I avoid this?

Asked on June 19, 2012 under Family Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Although I understand the situation is not optimum, I don't think "can I avoid this" is the question.  Avoidance past long ago. 

Child support is generally based on the income and custody of the two parents.  However, income may be imputed even if you aren't making it, if you have the ability and opportunity.  Your best bet would be to get employed and make arrangements with the mother of the child.

Child support is ALWAYS modifiable.  So, until the child is an adult, you need to be prepared for trips to court and changes to the support you are paying based on the circumstances such as changes to your income.

You should demand a paternity test as the other answer suggests.  If you are the father, you should seriously consider taking a role in the child's life and not just being a payor of child support.

Best of luck.

If you are in the Ventura County area feel free to contact me.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

By law, especially in one of the toughest states of California, you are responsible for child support. It makes no difference if you did not want the child. You will be forced to pay and as long as you are not disabled, be prepared to keep looking for a job, You may be able to stall some but ultimately the money is for the benefit of your child. If you don't pay and she has filed against you, California will file criminal charges against you. Your driver's license will be taken and it will jeopardize your livelihood. Talk with her and be prepared to start paying. You are also given the right to ask for child visitation. One doesn't have anything to do with the other. This means she cannot withold your visitation if you cannnot pay. Demand a paternity test to ensure you are the biological father and if you wish to be in the child's life, contact family court in your county and see if you can work out a good mediation.

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