More than 50 men were in court on a recent Thursday in New Haven, Connecticut. Each of the men that came before the judge was involved in a case of paternity establishment. Some of the cases determined whether or not child support was to be paid to the child’s mother. Connecticut Family Lawyer
In Courtroom 3A in New Haven, the paternity docket has a solid day dedicated to paternity testing. Every Thursday, a family support magistrate hears between 30 and 60 cases concerning paternity.
Things have changed in the past few decades, and the number of cases revolving around paternity and child support has increased largely. In an effort to shift some of the financial burden from the state to noncustodial parents, the government altered legislation so that some custodial mothers could attempt to receive child support from men they believed to be their child’s father. Now, only 20 percent of children born to unmarried parents are supported by the state. Twenty years ago, the state was supporting 80 percent of those children.
In the cases, each father is told that he has the right to a paternity test. Many choose to receive a paternity test before agreeing to pay child support to a child’s mother. Others admit to being the father without a test. According to the overseeing magistrate, it would be a better decision to have a paternity test performed. The cost of a paternity test is $30, and the results determine whether or not a suspected father will have to pay child support.
While paternity is determined on Thursdays in New Haven, on Tuesdays, child support is determined. When deciding, the magistrate considers the ability of a father to pay support.
Child support is something that many custodial parents rely on to make ends meet. If paternity is unknown or if the noncustodial parent fails to make payments, the child ends up being hurt most. Hopefully the increased availability and accessibility of paternity testing will help ensure that children who need support are adequately provided for.
Source: New Haven Independent, “56 Who’s-The-Daddy Cases Heard In 3 Hours,” Laurel Leff, Aug. 2, 2011