1. Establish paternity early in the child's life. A DNA test is always in order and can be done when the child is only a month old.
2. Seek support early in the child's life. Generally, a court will not order retroactive (back) child support.
3. Delay parenting until you know your partner well. Having children is the most important step a couple takes. The responsiblity lasts for a lifetime.
4. Put the child's interests first. Don't degrade the other parent in the child's presence. Encourage visitation. Stay in touch with your child - by email or phone calls if necessary.
5. Always keep a written record of child support payments made and received. Get receipts, use money orders or checks. Pay by automatic debit or income deduction order to avoid late/missing payments.
6. Make sure your new spouse/significant other understands and accepts your obligations to your child.
7. Keep the lines of communication open. Treat the other party like a business associate. Be courteous, forthright, to the point. Don't give, accept or expect favors (or "benefits") in exchange for child support or visitation.
8. Use birth control until you are sure you are ready (emotionally, spiritually, finacially, physically) for another child.