Posted By Kevin L. Cadora, Esq.
There is a misconception in California that since a child is not biologically related to someone, that person will not be responsible for the payment of child support. Nothing could be farther from the truth based upon the principal of Parent by Estoppel, which essentially says that if a person holds a non-biological child out to be their own child and it would be in that child’s best interest to receive child support from that unrelated person, that person could be ordered to pay child support.
A good example of this is when parties separate and there are step-children involved and the other biological parent of the children is absent from the children’s lives for whatever reason. In such a situation, the step-parent could be ordered to pay child support for their step-children they hold out as their own. The flip side of that coin is that the step-parent MAY also have rights to visitation of the children. That, however, is an extremely complex topic for another day since the US Supreme Court has chimed in regarding third party visitation with children contrary to the biological parent’s 14th Amendment Rights to rear their own children as they see fit.