The expenses associated with raising a child are exactly what make child support disputes so contentious. The parent seeking the support often feels that he or she cannot financially sustain the burden of raising a child without the monetary support of the other parent. In contrast, the parent from whom support is sought often feels that he or she is being used for money or is forced to pay more than is feasible. Sometimes, as with the case of an Arizona Cardinals player, paternity is the root of the child support controversy.
After a New Orleans Parish judge ruled that Tyrann Mathieu owes thousands of dollars in child support to a woman claiming to be the mother of his child, Mathieu is fighting back. Mathieu currently plays free safety for the Arizona Cardinals NFL team. The paternity suit began in January 2013, and there was a hearing scheduled in March 2014. Mathieu did not appear at the hearing, at which point the alleged mother won a default judgment against him. The woman asserted that she was in a relationship with Mathieu from the end of 2006 until September 2012, and the child was born only four months after their separation. She argued that Mathieu had acknowledged paternity of the child to many family members and friends, spent time with the boy on occasion and even sent some money on two separate occasions. Despite this money, however-which amounted to a total of $2,300 since the child’s birth-she asserted that his financial support was insufficient since her income is only $11,000 and $3,000 of that was spent on child care. In challenging the judge’s decision, Mathieu claims that he was not properly notified of the suit against him.
In Arizona, it is the obligation of both parents to contribute financially to raising a child until a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school. It is important for parents to understand that they cannot agree among themselves to waive or decrease child support payments because the right to financial support is a right possessed by the child.
Many child support disputes arise when parents divorce or when paternity is contested. Although some alleged fathers may attempt to deny paternity to avoid child support obligations, it is also true that some mothers may attempt to pin paternity on one specific individual simply to get the support. A paternity suit uses DNA testing to confirm or exclude a man’s biological relation to a child. When paternity is confirmed, the father must fulfill his obligation to pay child support or serious penalties could result.
Source: Times-Picayune, “Tyrann Mathieu embroiled in child support fight with New Orleans woman,” Ken Daley, Oct. 13, 2014