With California’s child support laws being among the strictest and most complex in the United States, there are many potential problems that can arise for parents as a result.

For example, in certain situations it is possible for the non-biological parent of a child to be assessed as having a greater responsibility to the child than the actual biological parent. You may be able to prove non-paternity, but it won’t necessarily diminish the obligation to pay child support if certain criteria are met. However if the situation you are in involved some kind of deliberate fraud by the biological parents of the child and you are misled into incorrectly declaring paternity for the child, you may have other legal actions you can take.

California is not unique in having laws like this. One of the possibilities is that somebody can be an “assumed” father, whether a true biological parent or not. This has happened in Kansas and it’s even a major point of contention in Japan. Most people feel that the idea that somebody can be assumed to be the father of a child, even when it can be scientifically proved that they are not, is ridiculously unfair. But how people feel about the law doesn’t change anything unless there is political motivation and action to change the law.

This can also affect families in other ways too. For example, biological fathers may be denied paternal rights because they are legally assumed not to be the father, even if they can prove that they are, as happened in Michigan in 2012, according to a news report from ClickOnDetroit.

For most parents the primary concerns they will have are either that they’re not receiving sufficient child support payments from the non-custodial parent, or as the non-custodial parent they may feel they are paying too much or that they shouldn’t even be paying at all. According to Carlsbad child support lawyers Fischer & Van Thiel, these kinds of situations may be open to challenge. You could be able to do something about it if you act quickly enough.

The essential thing to do, if you feel that something concerning your child support payments or other related issues is in any way unfair, is to seek legal advice promptly. If you delay getting help, you may inadvertently harm your chances of a successful outcome.

But even if there has been some delay, it may not be too late. One very important Californian judgment, County of Los Angeles v Navarro, reversed an earlier default ruling ordering a non-biological father to pay child support for children that were not his.

Famously the LA County Child Support Services Department tried to have the ruling depublished because they worried others might use it to secure their own rights. Having a lawyer on your side can sometimes shine a beacon of hope on a situation that seems impossible.

For Manuel Navarro, placing faith in his attorney paid off, because even though the written letter of the law was against him, and even though he had already unsuccessfully appealed the ruling one time, the judges in the case looked beyond that to the bigger picture. In their ruling, they rebuked the County for attempting to exploit the written laws in order to hide their own mistake instead of correcting it, and denied the depublication request.