Many people are surprised to learn that you don’t have to be a biological parent to be held liable for child support. This is because the United States legal system doesn’t see parental accountability strictly in terms of DNA. Rather, it aims to provide children the support they need to thrive—as provided by a recognizable adult who can be identified as playing a parental role.
How Is Parental Status Determined?
Marriage plays a major role in determining parental status, even if an individual is not biologically related to a child. When one adult consents to help raise their partner’s child or children, a so-called “doctrine of estoppel” may apply. Essentially, the court stipulates that because the individual acted in the role of a father or mother, the child should be able to rightfully rely on them to fulfill that role. In short: The kids should not suffer, financially or morally, if the couple splits up.
Many states simply assume paternity if a man and woman have entered into a marriage or serious long-term relationship. If a child is born during the course of a marriage, the husband is presumed to be the father. In some states, this presumption of paternity is so strict that you can’t even argue against it if a DNA test later proves the kid is biologically not yours.
Why Enlist an Attorney for Support Disputes?
Due to the intricacies of child support laws, you should always have a skilled legal professional on your side when it comes to such disagreements. An attorney who specializes in family law and knows your state’s rules will ensure that your children get the support they need.
For top-quality legal counsel regarding child support and other family affairs in Boston, MA, turn to the attorneys at Bellotti Law Group, PC. These professionals are known for their compassionate and knowledgeable service, and they will lend their guidance during this challenging time to ensure you and your young ones get the help you deserve. Learn more about their family law expertise online. To request a consultation with one of their attorneys, call (617) 778-1000 today.