Do Step-Parents Have to Pay Child Support?

Step-parents in New Jersey do not necessarily have an obligation to pay child support except in certain circumstances. If a stepparent agreed to undertake a support obligation, they will then be unable to change their mind afterwards. There are many instances in which a non-biological parent may effectively be a parent to a child, and potentially have an obligation to pay some of that child’s expenses. If you are unsure about whether you have a financial duty to a child, it may be wise to get in touch with a dedicated child support attorney.

Psychological Parentage

If the step-parent has made the argument that they are a psychological parent, which means that they are stepping in as a parent. Psychological parentage generally means that a step-parent has substantial parenting time or they have custody as a stepparent, they would also have the obligation to provide support.

Some non-biological parents may adopt a child, granting them all the same rights and duties as a regular parent. This also means that they are required to pay child support in the event of a divorce or separation from the child’s other parent.

How Child Support is Determined

Child support is essentially determined based upon prescribed state guidelines. If a legal or psychological parent earns up to a specific net income per year, then their support payment would be based on that income. However, these are just general guidelines, and there may be deviation.

Sometimes, parties will agree that the child support obligations be more based on certain needs of the child or certain issues involved or one of the parties’ finances, and sometimes they’ll agree to deviate down maybe because one party got more equitable distribution so they’ll have more income and they’ll have more money to support the child and the other party is in a different position.

If the parties can agree on what the child support will be, then they don’t need to have a judge involved and they can come up with an agreement on their own. However, if there is a question of whether or not a person legally has an obligation to pay support or if they are able to avoid this expense.

Consult a Lawyer to Clarify Who Owes Child Support

Any party who is identified or considered a legal parent to a child has a duty to provide financial assistance. If you co-parent with somebody who is not the biological parent of your child, you may still be able to seek a child-support arrangement with them. All financial support agreements must be in the best interest of the child, and if that requires somebody who is a psychological parent or an adoptive step-parent paying some form of compensation, then you may need to seek such orders in court. To learn more about whether step-parents must pay child support in New Jersey, get in touch with our dedicated lawyers at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC.

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