Can I Get Child Support All the Way Back to When I Got Pregnant?

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I applied for a paternity determination in court for my son who is 5 years old. The father asked for a DNA test, and we are waiting for the result. If it’s proven that he is the father, can I ask for child support from the time I got pregnant? He gave me $300 ten times over the past five years. How do I know how much he can afford? He hired an attorney but I cannot afford one to represent me. Thanks for your help.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

You have two different questions here, and they are:

1. Can you receive child support for the period of time that you were pregnant?

2. How do you know how much he can afford to pay you.

First, no, you can not receive child support for the period of time that you were pregnant. In fact, generally speaking, in many, if not most, states, you can only get child support from the time that you first filed a child support case with the court.

Second, child support is not based on how much he can pay you. It is determined by a formula that takes into account his income, your income, and other factors. It is determined by the court, or, in some states, the office of child support enforcement (usually within the District Attorney’s office).

You don’t say what state you are in, but this is how it works in most states.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"