Who Pays Child Support?

Traditionally, child custody info has been part of a divorce agreement.  When parents divorced, it generally became the father’s obligation to pay child support orders to the mother, who usually had custody of the child.  But aside from this classic idea many people have about child support collections and child support enforcement, there are many other situations under which it must be paid.  And changing family dynamics mean that the mother doesn’t always get custody, and so it’s not always the father who must pay child support.

Unmarried Parents

If a man fathers a child, it doesn’t matter if he’s married to the mother or not, he may have to pay child support help. If he’s married, but fathers a child with a different woman, that child is still his financial responsibility according to child support rules. If a man doesn’t agree that the child is his or challenges that claim, a paternity test can be administered to prove that the man is the father before he can legally be required to pay child support.

If a man fathers a child with a woman to whom he is not married and by his own admission or a paternity test it’s agreed that the child is his, he is responsible for the child support program until the child reaches a certain age, usually 18, or goes into the military.  If the child is disabled or has special needs, or remains in college, the length of time support is paid may be longer.  Each case will be decided individually based on those circumstances.

Stepparents and Child Support

If the woman with the child marries someone else, the biological father still must support the child.  The exception is if the father decides to allow the child’s stepparent to adopt the child.  Once that’s done legally, then the biological father is no longer required to pay state child support, but also has no parental rights to the child, either.

Unless the stepparent adopts the child, the stepparent is not responsible for child support.  If the stepparent is married to the child’s mother, for instance, for several years and then they divorce, even though he may have been financially supporting the child during the marriage, he is still not responsible for sending support for the stepchild.

Custody Issues

If a parent is denied visitation, that does not absolve him or her of paying child support. If you’re denied visitation you should contact your lawyer who will contact the court.  But do not stop making child support payments.

And while it’s less common than the traditional form of child support, if a father gets custody of the child, the mother can be expected to pay child support, such as has been the father’s role traditionally, as long as their financial situations warrant it.

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