Stepparents and Child Support

Assistance Provided by a Houston Divorce Law Firm

Photo of Adult and Child Holding HandsGenerally, a step-parent will not be required to pay child support for a step-child upon divorce or separation. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, such as instances where a step-parent has legally adopted a step-child or where a step-parent voluntarily agreed to assume child support obligations upon divorce. Because the child support requirements vary from situation to situation, it is important to consult with a Houston family attorney to determine whether a stepparent must pay child support in your situation.

At John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C., we understand the requirements of Houston child support laws and we will work with you to calculate child support, to enforce or modify existing support obligations and to prove paternity in situations where it’s uncertain. We know that you want what is best for your children and we also know that you want to accurately interpret Houston laws to understand your rights and obligations.

A Step-Parent’s General Obligation to Provide Child Support

Step-parents generally have no common law duty of support. However, a step-parent may be liable for necessaries provided to a step-child during the marriage if the step-parent holds the step-child out as a member of his or her family. In cases where a step-parent has incurred debts related to providing support to a step-child during the marriage, he or she may remain liable on those debts even if the marriage is later dissolved. However, this is often limited to repaying debts already incurred, not to providing support in the future.

Child Support Obligations Where There Has Been a Step-Parent Adoption

Upon remarriage, a step-parent wishes to legally adopt a step-child. This often occurs where the biological parent is willing to relinquish his or her parental rights to the other parent’s spouse. In some cases, it can also occur where the birth parent’s parental rights have been terminated due to irresponsible or abusive behavior. If a step-parent has legally adopted a step-child, that person has a duty to support the child, just as any other parent.

If you are a step-parent concerned about how your responsibilities will be affected by divorce, the Houston divorce lawyers at John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. are available to assist you. We understand the Houston laws surrounding divorce and child support and we will explain how these complex rules apply to your unique situation. For assistance, contact an attorney at our Houston divorce law firm today.

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