Hello and thank you for using Just Answer. I am an attorney with over 20 years expiernece in family law
and will be happy to answer your questions for you.
I am sorry you and your son are going through this difficult time.
Before the girlfriend can obtain an order requiring your son to pay child support several things must happen. I am going to address those things before I answer your question of whether she can obtain an order requiring him to pay child support.
First, the child must be born and a paternity test
must be done in order to prove your son is in fact the father of the child. If the paternity test shows he is the father, then, according to Louisiana law, because he is underage there are certain steps he must go through to acknowledge his paternity
. Lousiana law is very complex so how he acknowledge paternity depends on whether you and your son's father are married. If you and his father are married, your son's father can sign the acknowledgement of paternity. If you are not married to his father or are judically separated, then the parent with custody signs the acknowledgement of paternity. If you have joint custody
then both you and his father would sign the statement of paternity.
The question you have now may be "what if we do not sign the statement of paternity?" Once a paternity test is done that proves your son is the father then, yes, the mother
/girlfriend can go to court and file a child support case and ask the court to order your son to pay child support. There will then be a judicial finding that your son is the father based on psotive results of the paternity test.
The next question is who pays the child support? It depends on the court. Since a 16 year old has very little earning capacity if the court basis the support on just your son's income it will be a very low amount until his earning capacity increases. However, the court may take into consideration your income (and your husband's if you are married) and factor that somehow into the amount of support to be paid.
The botXXXXX XXXXXne answer to your question is, yes, even though your son is underage, he can be ordered to pay child support. But make sure that paternity test is done.
Now there is one more issue which I would like to address and it is something you hinted at in your question. That is the matter of their age difference and whether an 18 year old should be having sex with someone two years younger than she. When an adult has sex with a minor an offense called "statutory rape" occurs. It does not matter if the minor consents because by law a minor does not have the capacity to consent since they many times do not understand completely what the consequences of the act can be. In Lousiana it is a misdemeanor offense for a juvenile to have sexual intercourse even with consent with someone age 17 to 19 when the juvenile is aged 15 to 17 when the difference in their ages is greater than two years. It is the "greater than two years" age difference that is the key here. If your son is 23 months younger or less, this law would not apply. But if he is 24 months and at least one day younger, it would. If you feel your son meets the requirement for statutory rape by his girlfriend the matter should be reported to the police and you should ask that charges be pressed. You make the report, not him, because he is underage. If charges are pressed and the case goes to court and she is found guilty she could be sentenced to up to six months in prison and would have a record for the rest of her life. The flip side to this is if this is your grandchild, the record would follow the girlfriend her entire life and would effect her ability to find employment and a place to live.
Another option I can suggest is that if the child is your son's and the girlfriend is found guilty of statutory rape, your son could have a case to seek custody of the child.
With all this being said, I have provided you with general principals of the laws in Louisiana as pertains to your question. My answer is not a substitute for the advice an attorney in your area might give you in a face to face full consultation. As you can see, you have many options to consider and you will need the assistance of an attorney.
Here is a link to a group of attorneys in Louisiana who deal with father's rights. I strongly suggest you contact them immediatly to discuss the information I have given you so they can assist you in deciding what course of action will be best for your family.
If you have any follow up questions please ask me. I want to make sure you are satisfied with the answer I have given you and that you are pleased with your experience with Just Answer. I will answer any follow up questions you have as soon as possible.
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Again, please ask any follow up question you may have.
I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX and your son all the best.