Should I Contact the Agency Who Sent the Letter Immediately or Retain an Attorney to Handle the Communication?

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I have always lived in California. Yesterday I received a letter from the Office of the Attorney General for the state of Texas notifying me that my child support case(which I was unaware of) was moved to a new office. This is the only communication I’ve ever received from them. The mother listed is a woman(I was never married to) that I knew a long time ago, but have not seen or heard from in over 6 years. When I last spoke to her she let me know that she had a child, that she knew who the father was (the father was not me), and that she had a paternity test to show that it was his. To my knowledge she hasn’t ever attempted to contact me. So now I’m freaked out and not sure what to do on many levels. Should I contact the agency who sent the letter immediately or retain an attorney to handle the communication? What do I do if it turns out that I am the father of this child and support is more than I can afford? How would any sort of shared custody work in a situation where the parents live more than 1,500 miles apart? Given that for the past 6 years I had no reason to believe the child was mine is it likely that child support will be retro-active to the date of birth? Sorry for all the questions, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the situation and trying to keep my imagination from getting the best of me.

[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.]

In regard to your first question, you could contact the agency yourself to inquire about the matter, or have a family law attorney do it on your behalf. Depending on the complexity of your issues, it may be in your best interest to seek legal counsel for guidance.

If it turns out that you are in fact the father of the child, then you will be accountable for child support if the mother files an order for support. The amount of support will vary depending on several factors (ex – both parties income) and support will usually be retroactive to the date in which the order was filed. You will need to check the child support laws of Texas for more accurate information.

In regard to child custody, if a custody order is filed, then you can relinquish your physical and legal rights of the child in which the mother will have full and sole custody.

If you are worried about the situation, you may request for the mother to show you the paternity test results to ensure that you are not the father. Alternatively, you can file a motion to determine paternity in Texas as well.

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Author: House Attorney