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Must I Pay Oklahoma Child Support for My Spouse’s Child From a Previous Marriage?

previous marriageWhen we marry a person with a child from a previous marriage, we take on the normal obligations that one has to those with whom we live.

Though we all have moral obligations to those we live with and even to those people around us, there is a big difference in Tulsa, Oklahoma between having a moral obligation and a legal obligation.

We may even find that we develop loving feelings and a deep relationship with that child from a previous marriage by virtue of forming a blended family. But those obligations are not legal ones.

Child Support and Previous Marriage FAQ

Your new spouse’s ex has a legal obligation to support his or her child. That legal obligation continues even once you marry your new spouse.

You do not have a legal obligation to support the child from a previous marriage. It often happens that a stepparent will in fact, provide financial support to the family as a whole, including the child, but that stepparent does not take on a legal obligation to do so just by marrying the parent of the child.

In fact, the stepparent’s income is not taken into account by the court when it looks at dividing support obligations between the parents of the child.

Adoption Creates a New Legal Relationship

However, if you choose to legally adopt your new spouse’s child from a previous marriage, then you will assume child support obligations that continue even if you are later divorced from that child’s birth parent. That is because legal adoption creates a legal parent-child relationship between you and the child.

As such, even if you divorce the birth parent, the legal parent-child relationship continues. Adoption is a lifelong commitment.

Blended families handle this issue differently depending on the circumstances. When the ex is an integral part of the child’s life, the issue of adoption may never come up at all.

The ex continues to have a strong relationship with the child, and most likely will be unwilling to give up their parental rights in order to facilitate your adoption.

The issue of adoption often comes up when the ex has passed away or has abandoned the child. The relationship between you and the child may be quite strong and adoption will continue to strengthen that relationship. Or it may be that you wish to allow the child to inherit.

Whatever the reason, know that adoption creates a different legal relationship between you and the child from a previous marriage. If you adopt, you will have to pay child support if you and the birth parent divorce.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Child Support Attorney

Your choice of an Oklahoma divorce attorney is critical, especially regarding any issues about child support in Tulsa. Before you retain our family law attorneys, you are invited to have a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation to help you determine whether our family law services can meet your particular needs.

For a free consultation with a Tulsa child support attorney about your concerns, call the Divorce Law Office of Tulsa today at 918-924-5526.