Rather Than Buying Diapers or Shoes, Provide Money and Document It
Video Transcribed: My name is Brian L. Jackson, I’m a Dads’ rights attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The next thing you should know after realizing you have no rights until you establish them is that when it comes to child support, you start underwater. That is, you can be liable for up to two years of back support. The very first child support order that you ever receive as a father might already include a large arrearage.
That’s right, the first time a mother requests court-ordered child support, the law allows her to go after not only current support, but the support she believes she is owed for the prior two years, plus all portions of the costs of birth.
That frequently leaves dads starting child support already underwater, potentially only thousands of dollars. Worse yet, the arrearage is a judgment that can be collected like any other judgment through garnishment, bank levies, real estate liens, asset hearings, et cetera.
And the child support arrearage automatically accrues statutory interest at the rate of 2% per year until you paid in full. There is discrimination against unwed fathers written into the law, although wives can go after their husbands for child support if they are separated, they cannot seek any support from any time prior to the date they filed for support. Not so for unwed dads.
It could be worse though. For example, under Arizona law, a mother can go back in the child’s entire life for back child support when initially requesting a child support order be put in place.
Even in Oklahoma, the two-year period when moms can collect back child support is less than what it was a few years ago. Prior to November 1st, 2014, Oklahoma mothers could seek up to five years of back child support when first filing a support claim. Also until recently, statutory child support interest was set at a higher than the market rate of 10% per year.
So what should you do? Well, there are three things you should be doing. First, you can get in front of this issue by filing to establish your parental rights as soon as your child is born. Don’t let a period of time go by which the mother could claim you should have provided more support. Once an order is entered, everyone’s rights and responsibilities are clear. She won’t be able to say you should have paid more in the past.
Second, carefully document any support you provide to the mother. If you were giving money to the mother, make sure it’s characterized as being child support and have the mother sign a receipt, better yet pay by check and write child support in the memo.
Rather than buying diapers or shoes, provide money and document it. Then if she attempts to go after you for back child support, your attorney can ensure that you get credit for what you have paid.
I cannot tell you how many fathers DHS has forced to double pay child support because DHS presumes dads did not provide support unless the mother agrees she received it or dad has good documentation. With a good attorney on your side. It isn’t just about what DHS says, it’s about what a court says, but that’s an issue for another time.
Third, if you are living with the mother, make sure you maintain documentation of cohabitation. Your attorney can argue that you should not be required to pay any support for time periods where you were living with the mother and necessarily pooling resources, but when thousands of dollars are at issue, it is very common for mothers to dispute the historic living arrangements.
So document it, just in case. Tie you and her to the same address. Think about documentation in the form of rental agreements, utility bills, mail received at the address, address put down on tax returns, and of course your driver’s license.
If you need assistance with a child support related issue or any other issue related to father’s rights, you can contact us by going to dads.law and one of our attorneys would be happy to help you out in vindicating your rights and resolving any problems you may be dealing with.
My name is Brian L. Jackson, I am a Tulsa dads’ rights attorney, and we’ve been talking about how you can end up behind the eight balls immediately if your child’s mother files for child support. Thank you very much. Have a good evening.