I Am Not the Father: Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support in New Jersey?
During or after a marriage, you may have become aware that you are not biologically related to a child. If this is the case, the process of determining child support payments can be difficult. From a logical standpoint, you may think that paying child support for a child who is not yours is ridiculous. However, the legal system in New Jersey may have other ideas about what is acceptable and normal in a divorce.
If you are worried that you may be forced to pay child support to a child who is not biologically yours, you should reach out to a qualified divorce attorney as soon as possible. These legal experts can help you with a range of different issues as you deal with your divorce, and these include matters related to child support. While the state of New Jersey may make it difficult for you to avoid child support, a qualified legal expert can help you fight for your rights.
Who is the Biological Parent?
If you have no idea who the real biological father is, you might want to start by figuring this out. As a general rule, New Jersey states that a child’s natural parents should always be the first option when figuring out child support. If you cannot track down the biological parent, the situation becomes more difficult. However, if you can show the court that the real biological father is able to pay child support, you may be able to avoid paying child support yourself.
What Kind of a Father Were You?
When the court considers whether a stepparent or biologically-unrelated father should pay child support, they often take the nature of the relationship into account. In other words, they will ask whether you acted as a genuine father figure to the children. If you voluntarily assumed the role of a father in the relationship, you may be ordered to pay child support. Even though you are not the real father, you are legally acting “in loco parentis,” which is Latin for “in place of a parent.”
If you and the children have developed an emotional, psychological, and financial relationship, the court may determine that you have voluntarily assumed the role of a father over the course of your marriage.
This situation becomes even more difficult to fight in court if you have actively played a role in excluding the biological father from the children’s lives. If you were aware of the real father’s existence and you voluntarily put yourself in a situation whereby you “ousted” him from the family unit, the court will likely make you responsible for child support. With all that said, the court may require that both “fathers” pay partial child support for the same children in some situations.
Enlist Help From a Qualified Divorce Attorney in New Jersey
If you find yourself in this situation, your first step should be to get help from a compassionate divorce attorney in New Jersey. This situation is more common than you might think, and there are legal experts who are experienced with these specific circumstances. If you need legal assistance that you can depend on, reach out to Giro, LLP, Attorneys at Law today. We will help you move forward in a dignified, efficient manner.