When a child is born, both parents are legally required to support the child until his/her 18th birthday. But what about before a child is born? Can a mother receive child support for an unborn child? Who is responsible for the expenditures during pregnancy and child birth?
Can you receive child support for an unborn child?
Some states recognize a duty to support an unborn child and can assess child support against a father during the pregnancy of the mother. This happens less than you would imagine because paternity must be established and can be disputed. Paternity can be established through acknowledgement from the father, presumptions (i.e. a husband and wife become pregnant,) court orders, or through paternity tests. The problem with paternity tests is that they are rarely performed on an unborn child because of the medical risks involved. In most cases where paternity is disputed, the mother is left without child support until after the child is born. In North Carolina, the law does not view a child as a person to be supported until after the birth of the child so there is no child support available during pregnancy or prior to the birth of a child.
Who covers expenses associated with pregnancy and child birth?
Even if the mother does not receive child support during pregnancy, she can still be reimbursed for many of the expenses associated with the pregnancy and childbirth. Every state has different rules on how this is handled, so contact a lawyer in your state to see how the expenses will be handled. North Carolina does allow for claims to be made to recoup some of the medical expenses from the birth of a child, but prenatal care and expenses are not included in this. Always make sure to keep accurate and detailed records of all incurred expenses. Copies of bills and receipts should be sent to the other parent.