Are stepparents required to pay child support for their spouse’s child?

Step-parents may be responsible to pay child support for children that are not of their marriage, but the requirement to pay is dependent on the facts of the case.

In the presence of a signed and notarized agreement to pay support, that contract will be enforceable. See Moyer v. Moyer 122 N.C. App. 723 (1996). If the stepparent takes the child into their home in such that he or she places him or herself ‘in loco parentis’ to the child, then the stepparent assumes an obligation that continues so long as the relationship lasts, even without adoption. This doesn’t require the stepparent to continue the support after a divorce, though, without a formalized agreement.

Contributions of a third party may be used to support a deviation from the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. This generally places a higher burden on the payee to prove the actual expenses as well as how much contribution is being made by the step-parent, but it is feasible. However, generally, a stepparent is not under an obligation to provide support for a minor child from a spouse’s previous marriage. Barker v. High 77 N.C. App. 227 (1985)


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