– from Eric N. in Richfield, WI

Question Details:

I fathered a child when I was 16 years old. The mother was 18 at the time. The child is now 2 years old and the mother is just now filing for child support. Am I responsible for child support when I was only 16 at the time? Couldn’t she get in trouble for having a child with someone who was underage at the time?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This is a tricky situation. Yes, she may face consequences, but whether these consequences are enforced is another issue. Honestly, it might end up being a separate case. Once a child is involved, it changes the playing field. Whether your intimacy with her was consensual or not, I do not believe it would alleviate your obligations to help support the child and you may want to look into important factors in child support worksheets.

In the case of J.J.G. v. L.H. (In re Paternity of J.L.H.) 149 Wis. 2d 349, 441 N.W.2d 273 (Ct. App. 1989), a similar case was heard. The court did not pursue the claims of consensual sex and found the young man liable for support. Besides, in your case, if she does face consequences, guardianship of the child would inherently fall to you, being the child’s father.

My advice is to seek legal counsel right away, before proceeding. An experienced family attorney will be able to advise you on the course of action that is best.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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