Are Only Biological Parents Entitled to Child Support?

A biological, or birth, parent, probably has the easiest case to make for retaining child custody and receiving child support payments following a divorce, but that is not the only situation that can occur. First, child support can also be requested following a separation, an…to-child-support/out-of-wedlock birth, and an adoption.

Further, the recipient of the payments does not need to be the child’s biological mother or father. Because child support payments are intended to ensure that the child receives adequate housing, food, clothing, health care, and education, the money can be claimed on the child’s behalf by any person who has legal custody of the boy or girl.

This means that a stepparent who becomes the custodial parent after divorcing the biological parent can request child support. So can a grandparent who takes in a grandchild for whom a biological parent has been providing financial support. Many other relationships between an adult who lives with and cares for a child full time could be listed. But, again, the take-home message is that the support is for the child and follows the youngster accordingly.

Formal, legal adoption can strengthen a claim for support, as can working with a case officer from the Office of Child Support in the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. Contacting the ODJFS would also result in receiving referrals to other sources of financial support besides payments from a noncustodial parent.

Does Paternity Matter at All?

Being a biological parent matters more for paying child support more than it does for receiving such payments.

Following principles developed under common law going back thousands of years, both mothers and fathers have enforceable obligations to support all their children until the youngsters reach the age of 18. In modern legal scenarios, this translates into a noncustodial parent who earns more money being ordered to pay child support to a custodial parent who earns less. This happens even if the mother and father were never married and when legal paternity can be proven to the satisfaction of a court. A stepparent and, in Ohio, a grandparent may also be placed under order to financially support a child when specific situations exist.

Consulting with a Columbus, Ohio, child support attorney any time a child’s living situation changes due to divorce, separation, or relocation is a wise decision because any existing court order requiring support payments may need to be modified. Specifics regarding the amount paid, schedule of payments, and recipient named on checks or fund transfers can only be enforced if a judge signs off on the details. Even if a custodial parent and a noncustodial parent agree between themselves to certain conditions regarding child support, those understanding will not hold up in court should one party renege on the arrangement.

To learn answers to all your questions about child support, contact the Columbus, Ohio, family law offices or schedule an appointment online.