Do Stepparents Have to Pay Child Support in PA?

  • Whether you are a current or former stepparent of a child, it is quite possible that you could be court-ordered to financially support your stepchild, depending on the child support arrangement that exists between your spouse and your stepchild’s other parent. 

    However, a stepparent being compelled to pay child support is one of the more rare occurrences in Pennsylvania family law, as there is no specific law with such a requirement. Continue reading to learn more about the circumstances under which a stepparent will have to pay child support in PA.

    When Stepparents Are Financially Responsible for Stepchildren

    Many stepparents are under the impression that since their stepchildren are not related to them by blood, they are not responsible for paying child support. However, this could not be further from the truth, especially in situations where the stepparent has previously taken responsibility for raising a child who is not theirs biologically. 

    Stepparents who have assumed responsibility for raising children after marrying one of the child’s parents may, in fact, have a financial obligation to the children while married to the child’s parent, and even in the event of a divorce. 

    Most notably, in cases where one parent has remarried and the other parent of the child is unable to provide the most basic needs to a child, the stepparent will either be responsible for the child financially or have their income taken into account when child support is being evaluated for the noncustodial parent. 

    Criteria for Child Support Paid by Stepparents

    Whether a stepparent is still currently married to their stepchild’s parent or has since divorced from their stepchild’s parent, they are typically not able to simply walk away from or deny any financial responsibility to the child. 

    In most cases, any of the following criteria must be met in order for a stepparent to be compelled to pay child support for a stepchild:

    • The stepparent has been taking care of the financial needs of the child.
    • The stepparent interferes with the child’s ability to maintain a relationship with their biological parent.
    • The stepparent has interfered with a biological parent’s responsibility to financially support their child.
    • The stepparent has assumed the role of a parent and has already been providing financial support to the child.

    If any of the previously mentioned requirements apply to you as a stepparent and you are still unsure of whether you should be or will be ordered to pay child support for your stepchild, you should speak with your Pennsylvania attorney about the individual details of your case so that you are not taken advantage of or made to pay more than you are legally required to under PA child custody laws. 

    Learn How a PA Child Support Lawyer Can Help

    If you are a stepparent being ordered to pay child support, or if you are the parent of a child who needs financial assistance from their stepparent, reach out to an experienced Pennsylvania family lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. for assistance. 

    We can be reached by phone at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529), or find us online and fill out the submission form at the bottom of this page when you are ready to schedule your initial consultation at our firm.