pregnant woman

Child Support And Pregnancy Laws

Parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support to their children until they turn 18 and are considered legal adults. In a stable, two-parent home environment, both parents have the opportunity to contribute to that support from the moment of conception, no matter what the family situation is or who the breadwinner may be. For divorced families, North Carolina has established child support laws to regulate how this financial support is divided.

But in some cases, parents may have divorced before their child was born, or they may not have been married in the first place. Both scenarios leave parents facing situations where one of them (ususally the mother) is shouldering the financial responsibilities during pregnancy. In such cases, should the mother be receiving child support during her pregnancy and before the child is born? Here, the child support laws get a little more complex.

Paternity Laws

In some states, the laws have provided for such scenarios, making it a requirement that both parents must support their unborn child. A father can be made to provide child support to a pregnant mother throughout the pregnancy. However, in order to mandate child support obligations, the court must have proof of paternity.

The paternity can be established by presumption in a likely scenario (husband and wife, for example), court order, a paternity test, or even a father’s acknowledgement, but these methods can be disputed in court, dragging out the process of establishing financial responsibility. Paternity tests also pose a problem because they may present a threat to an unborn baby’s health.

If paternity is not established, a mother cannot receive child support throughout her pregnancy and must wait until the child is born. Then, paternity can be established through testing and the courts can make a determination on child support responsibilities for both parents.

North Carolina Laws

The state of North Carolina does not require fathers to pay child support until the child is born; so throughout a mother’s pregnancy, she is responsible for all financial burdens including medical care and expenses related to childbirth. The father does not have a legal obligation to provide any financial contribution, unless he wants to do so.

North Carolina does provide a way for a mother to receive reimbursement for some of the medical expenses related to child birth. This is done through a legal claim, and it is important for the mother to keep detailed records of all expenses, bills and receipts so the other parent can contribute. However, a reimbursement claim cannot include any expenses for the mother’s prenatal care.

Call a Lawyer Today

At Parker Bryan Family Law, a North Carolina law firm, we help parents determine how they will handle care of their children, especially if they are divorced or separated. We offer legal counsel on custody and child support issues. For more information regarding North Carolina’s laws and requirements, contact one of the family law attorneys at Parker Bryan Family Law for a consultation today.