Why You May Be Legally Required To Provide For Your Step Child
Ordinarily, only biological parents are held legally responsible for taking care of their children's financial needs. However, there are cases where you may be required to provide for your stepchild, and even pay child support for them. Here are some examples of such circumstances:
If The Custodial Parent Is Unable To Do It
State laws determine who should take care of a child at various levels of the child's life. For example, some states will require a step parent to step in if the custodial or biological parent is unable to do it. For example, if you are the step parent to a child whose other parent is too ill to take care of the child, then the state may hold you responsible for the child.
If You Are Married or Cohabiting With the Other Parent
In some states, you are only responsible for your step kids if you are living with or cohabiting with the child's parent. The required support ends when you stop cohabiting or living with the other parent. For example, you may be required to take care of your stepchild if you are married to the other parent, but the requirement may stop if you divorce.
If The Child Is Living With You
There are also states that only require you to support your stepchild as long as the child is living with you. For example, you may be required to support your stepchild if the three of you (you, the biological parent, and the child) are living in the same household. However, this may not be the case if the child is living with their grandparents or the former partner of your current partner.
If You Have Adopted the Child
All states will require you to support your grandchild if you have adopted the child. This is because when you adopt a child, they become your child as far as legal issues are concerned. This means you will be required to take care of the child just as you would take care of your biological child.
If You Signed a Relevant Marital Agreement
Lastly, you will also be required to take care of your stepchild if the issue was included in your prenuptial (or any other kind of marital agreement) agreement. This is because of marital agreements, as long as they are legally executed, are legally binding; once you sign one, you will be required to honor all the terms it contains.
To learn more, contact a law firm like The Healy Law Firm.