My 13 year old son has apparently gotten a girl from his school pregnant. What are the legal implications that may flow from this?

Question Details: My son has told me a girl from his school is apparently pregnant to him. She is sure he is the father, and if she chooses to keep the child we would like to know our options. What are the legal implications that may flow from this? Will we have to pay child support? Do my partner and I have to become guardians as our son is underage? Can we adopt the child?

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

You and your partner will not have to pay child support or become guardians of the child.

But you can choose to apply to the Family Court to be appointed as additional guardians for the child and/or to apply for parenting orders to care for the child.

You and your partner could also apply to adopt the child with the consent of the mother. Child Youth and Family (CYF) provide useful information about the adoption process, on their website at: www.cyf.govt.nz.

If your son is the father and he will not be primarily responsible for caring for the child on an ongoing basis, he will have to pay child support. However, because your son is under the age of 16, he can apply for an exemption from paying child support, using Inland Revenue application form IR105A (available at this link: www.ird.govt.nz).

If your son is the father and he is going to be primarily responsible for caring for the child on an ongoing basis, then he can apply for child support from the mother.

The IRD provides useful information about child support on their website: www.ird.govt.nz

We suggest that you might want to talk to a family lawyer about all the questions you have. You can talk to your local Community Law Centre about your legal advice options. Click here to find your local Community Law Centre: www.communitylaw.org.nz. Or you can find a local family lawyer by using the Law Society's "Find a Family Lawyer" search option: www.familylaw.org.nz.

You might also find this Community Law booklet of "Legal Information for Pregnant Teenagers" useful: www.communitylaw.org.nz

Answered 22 Aug 2012. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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