Divorce has become more socially acceptable today, and blended families have become more common. Many stepparents take on the same roles and responsibilities as biological parents, which begs the question are stepparents liable for paying child support in the event of a divorce? Keep reading to learn whether a stepparent is liable for child support, and discover how a talented Nassau County Child Support Lawyer can help you understand your child support obligations in New York today. 

Who is legally obligated to pay child support?

Child support is money paid to a custodial parent by a non-custodial parent to provide financial support for a child’s needs. In New York, a child’s biological parents are responsible for paying this court-ordered maintenance payment. A child’s birth parents must provide financial support for their children’s basic needs until the age of emancipation. The age of emancipation in New York is 18. However, under certain circumstances, a parent could be legally obligated to provide them with financial maintenance until they’ve completed college.

Is a stepparent liable?

In most cases, stepparents are not required to pay child support for a spouse’s children from a prior marriage. Although they are not legally obligated to pay child support, the court will still consider their income as it can significantly affect the amount of support the child’s biological parent has to pay. In general, New York courts find it unjust to require stepparents to pay child support for their spouse’s child from a prior relationship. This is because stepparents do not have parental rights. That said, if a stepparent obtains parental rights through adoption, they become liable for paying child support in the event of a divorce. They are no longer a stepparent but rather just a parent. It is critical to note that a biological parent must relinquish their parental rights for a stepparent to adopt a child. Ultimately, in a stepparent divorce, stepparents have no legal obligation to provide child support unless they have legally adopted their stepchildren.

What if my ex remarries?

Unlike alimony, an existing child support order does not automatically end if your former spouse remarries. However, their new marriage could be grounds for requesting a modification to your current child support order. When there is a significant change in circumstances, the court will likely grant a request to modify a child support order.

If you are a stepparent undergoing a divorce, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a skilled Nsaau County child support lawyer from the Law Offices of Eyal Talassazan, P.C. today. Our firm is committed to helping our clients understand their child support obligations.