Ongoing debate regarding stepparents and child support

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Paternity/Child Support on Wednesday, December 30, 2015.

Many fairy tales depict stepparents as mean and unloving. In real life, however, this is typically far from being the case as many stepparents, including many in Missouri, enjoy happy and harmonious connections to the children they’ve come to call their own through marriage. In fact, there have been cases where stepparents have sought custody of stepchildren after divorce. What is not so typical, however, is a stepparent being ordered to pay child support.

This issue is currently being debated in another state where former spouses were granted equal legal and physical custody of twin boys even though the former husband in the situation is not the boys’ biological father. The Supreme Court in the state is divided on whether the man should be required to pay child support to the boys’ mother. The custody arrangement stipulates that neither the mother nor the stepfather are allowed to relocate with the boys unless the other parent or a judge permits it.

The twins’ mother has apparently decided to file a legal claim against her former husband for child support. Her initial request was reportedly rejected by both a county court and Superior Court in Pennsylvania, where she resides. However, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on appeal and issued a majority ruling that since the stepfather had battled for equal custody of the children, he should then be held responsible to contribute to their financial support as any biological parent would. A dissenting Chief Justice said that he believes the matter is better left to the state legislature to decide.

Most parents and stepparents want what is best for their children, especially when children are transitioning to a new lifestyle after divorce. Those facing similar child support issues in Missouri may have questions regarding state law or the process involved in filing a legal claim. These matters may be addressed by scheduling a consultation with a family law attorney in the area.

Source:, “Stepparents who ‘aggressively’ fight exes for custody can be liable for child support, Pa. Supreme Court rules“, Matt Miller, Dec. 29, 2015

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