Ask a Lawyer: Do I pay child support if we are living together but aren’t married?


My girlfriend and I are having a baby. We are not married and do not want to get married. We live together in the same house. Do I have to pay child support since we live under the same roof and have no plans to separate?  Just asking since we’re unmarried.


It depends.  You should consult an attorney in your jurisdiction as I do not practice in Ohio.  That being said, I can lend some light as to how some states address child support when the parents are cohabitating but aren’t married.

When your child is born, there is a voluntary acknowledgement form that will be available for you to sign at the hospital.  If you sign this form, you are legally Dad.  As such, you or your girlfriend can go to court for an order establishing paternity and ordering custody, placement and child support arrangements.  If neither of you go to court, then there is no order for support.  However, in most states, without the paternity adjudication, you have no custody or placement rights.  It is much easier to come to agreements when both of you are getting along.  Therefore, if you both agree that you should have joint custody, shared placement and no child support, you should certainly obtain a court order establishing the same as soon as the baby is born.  In the event that you later separate, the terms are already in place. 

If your girlfriend is receiving public assistance, the State may file a paternity action to re-coup birthing costs and to establish support for the child.  Many states have a statutory birthing cost that the father has to pay to the State if the mother was receiving public assistance at the time of birth.  If you sign the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, you have already declared that you are the father.  As such, the State will file an action adjudicating you as father and will ask for an order establishing a repayment of the birthing fees as well as an order for child support.  Even if the mother does not want support, the State will demand a child support order if the mother is still on public assistance.  If you later decide to marry, you may still be responsible for the remaining birthing costs as well as any child support arrears you may have accumulated.


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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6 comments on “Ask a Lawyer: Do I pay child support if we are living together but aren’t married?

    child support/ful custody
    My friend ahs been with her boyfriend for 5yr & they have 2 small girls.they have split couple times.This last time,she was pushed by others.She being forced ,went to her moms,taking just her clothes.He took her to court & lied about her family,was able to get temp-custody.Leaving dourthouse,he said I want my family back.She went back May16/12.Yet,he feels she hurt him so he wants garantee if she leaves again,he will have the girls.Hes going for ful custody & childsupport,even though they live togehter as family.??

    im pregnant and i live with my fiance and so does he have to pay child support if we live together
    i just want to know if my fiance has to pay child support if we live together

    child support living together
    Me and my boyfriend just had a baby boy august this year. He has a kid from a previous relationship as well and he has been paying for him $150 every two weeks. they are very mature about the situation, well now we recieved a court order for him from his ex ( even though she said she never filed :/) well me and him, even though we live together my money is mine and his money is his. But I had lost my job and am on unemployment. Now if I need any extra help cause unemployment dont give that much I do ask him for help. Well now she wants more money from him she wants full custody and she wants him to pay for all medical(even though she has medicaid) and also pay for preschool. And she only works about 15 hours a week at cvs. not to mention has no bills cause she lives with her parents and drives her parents van. Now my concern is that I depend on him alot more cause I dont have that much help, can I take him to court and get money for child support? because I’m afraid that if the judge favors all her requests ( which in NJ almost allll judges favor the mother) me and him wont be able to survive between rent and bills and all her demands :( And not too mention I have three other kids from a previous relationship, where I have never gotten child support for, so my current boyfriend also helps take care of them. Please someone help!

    im 15 and my dad had 3 other kids before me but they seperated and were still living together when my annt filed child support dose this mean he still has to pay because she still lives with me my mom and dad this isnt fair he can’t work and is going to court over it today he has arthritis in his hands and feet he cant walk so i need an answer plz fast

    Me and my wife are separated and our 3 kids are on my insurance so no government assistance me and my wife have an agreement on what I pay to her every week but the courts want me to pay child support through the courts do we have to do it that way or can we do it the way me and my ex wife agreed on

    Me and my boyfriend have 50%and50% costody (we separed once) ,now we are vack together and I found out that hi aplyed for child support …it’s that legal?

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