In Hawaii, a married couple with children is automatically considered parents to the child biologically and legally. If the couple decides to separate, they will need to discuss child support using a specific formula that Hawaii uses to calculate child support payments. For them, the process will be relatively straightforward.
When two people have a child and are not married at the time of birth, the father will only be considered the biological father and not the legal father. If the child's mother is filing for child support and the father has doubts the child is biologically theirs, they will need to pursue a paternity test. This blog will discuss the process of paternity tests and their effect on child support cases in Hawaii.
For a father to gain legal rights to their child, the unmarried couple must pursue a legal process called "paternity establishment". This process makes sure the father acquires all legal rights to his child. If this is not done, the child's father will lack the full spectrum of benefits for the child. Once the father has proven to be the child's father via paternity test, they may be obligated to support the child financially.
What If I Don’t Think I’m The Father?
If the father doubts the child is theirs, they have the right to dispute the claim. The Court may order a DNA test whereby DNA samples will generally be taken from the mother, presumed father, and child during this process. The results usually take 4-6 weeks.
If the test results prove that you are the biological father, you may be obligated to support the child financially. However, you will also gain legal rights to the child, meaning you and the mother will need to discuss visitation and custody of the child.
If the paternity test reveals they are not the child's biological father, the individual will have no legal obligation to support them financially. They will also have no legal right to the child, eliminating the right of visitation or custody. In summary, the individual will no longer have a relationship with the child or mother in the eyes of the law.
In other cases, if paternity had previously been assumed through marriage or a "paternity establishment" agreement and it is later proven the father is not biologically related to the child, the paternity finding can be reversed. If this happens, the Court will likely order child support to stop immediately. In extreme cases, the mother may face consequences if they are proven to deliberately lie about the assumed father's biological relation to the child.
At Coates Frey Hackett & Gibson, AAL LLLC, our team of experienced attorneys can provide you with additional information regarding child support and paternity in Hawaii. If you have any questions, we are ready to take your call! (808) 518-6376