Almost everything we have discussed in the first 24 Lessons applies to parents who were married to each other AND to parents who were not married to each other at the time their child was born. Let’s talk now about the particular differences.
KRS 406 governs paternity actions. A child born during lawful wedlock, or within 10 months thereafter, is presumed to be the child of the husband and wife. We know the husband will not necessarily be the biological father of the child, and there is no presumption if the mother is not married, so DNA testing can used to determine paternity when parties do not agree by affidavit or testimony in court.
According to KRS 406.031, a paternity action can be filed at any time before the child turns age 18, and if paternity is established, the father will be obligated to pay child support from the date of filing of the action until the child turns 18, or if still a full-time high school student, until the completion of the school year during which he turns 19.
However, if the action is filed before the child reaches the age of 4, the mother can recover the arrearage of child support, medical expenses and childcare expenses that had accrued back to the date of birth.
Oddly enough, the paternity statutes were enacted at a time when childbirth outside of marriage was frowned upon, and there is still a requirement that information in paternity actions is to remain confidential and not open for public inspection.
There are custody and timesharing issues between unmarried parents that require intervention by the court, and some courts may want to transfer the confidential child support proceedings into the public custody matters so they can be heard together. I expect an appellate court to rule on the propriety of this practice in the near future unless the legislature decides to remove the confidentiality requirement.
So, now you know a little bit about the nuances of paternity actions, and you may have completed this entire set of 25 Lessons on Kentucky law pertaining to child support.
I hope my presentation in these Lessons has been helpful to you. Now that you are finished with this series, relax …
And have a great day!