Q: 17 y/o going to college. Her father is paying 0 support. He is not on birth certificate. What should I do?
He walked away from their relationship recently when he married and had a baby. He now has nothing to do with her and does not help support her.
A: It depends on whether you want to get him to pay for college and possibly pay for support. Would it cause trauma for your daughter? Does this guy work or have any income? Are you fairly certain your daughter isn't going to drop out within the first semester? Do you make a ton of income and want to avoid contributing to her college? Usually in a situation like this there's a reason why you haven't filed a paternity case yet, or tried to get child support. But getting him to do this is definitely feasible.
First, you will need to establish paternity then you can request an order for child support. There are two different way in which to do this: (1) Establish legal paternity through the State of Missouri Family Support Division by applying for Child Support services, or (2) File a Paternity and Child Support case through the appropriate County Circuit Court.
In order to establish paternity, a biological father can sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity, which may not be likely in your case if father has nothing to do with the child at this point. In an effort through the FSD or through the court, the the child, mother and father can also be ordered to take a DNA test. A DNA test alone does not establish paternity but it would be evidence in a case to request that the court name the man as the biological father of the child.
More information would need to be known to answer questions about what may be included in an order for child support. A child support order can include the amount of child support and any expenses that might be ordered on top of child support, like college tuition or health insurance expenses. The length of time a child support order is in effect for most people has to do with the age of your child and how long she attends college. There are other factors too that might be outside of the scope of this question.
Going through each process has pros and cons. The processes, length of time, cost, and potential outcomes are different. It would be helpful to have an attorney if the father's location is unknown or if he is not cooperative. You should speak with an experienced child support lawyer in your area for the best advice regarding your particular situation.
I wish you well!
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