I now cohabit with my girlfriend who makes me pay child support to her for our child even though there is no child support order through the court.
I feel that since we already split expenses like a normal couple living together that I shouldn’t have to pay her additional child support.
Am I required to pay child support if I am living with my girlfriend and my child and there is no court order?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce and child support laws where I am licensed to practice.
Where I practice, a support order is entered when the parents of a minor child or children are no longer residing together.
The theory behind a support order is that typically one parent will be the primary custodian of the child and since the primary custodian will be spending more time with the child, the thought is that parent will be spending more money on the child over the non-primary parent.
Support is usually income and guidelines based. This means that the incomes of the parties, as well as the custodial schedule, are taken into consideration when determining the appropriate amount of monthly child support.
Where I practice, the courts will take each parents income and come up with a total they believe is appropriate to spent for the child’s needs on a monthly basis. This number is then divided between the parties based on their incomes.
For example, the court determines that a basic child support order should be $1,000 per month. If Father’s income is 30% of the combined monthly income and Mother’s income was 70% of the combined monthly income, and Mother was primary custodian of the child, then Father’s monthly child support obligation would be $300 per month.
Again, the theory behind this is that the court assumes that Mother would be spending the 70% during her times with the child since, in the example, the child primarily resides with Mother.
Generally, if parents reconcile and begin to reside together again with the child, a child support order typically is terminated. The theory behind this is that the parties should be able to determine how they will divide their financial obligations privately without the court’s intervention.
However, a child support order can only be modified and/or terminated upon showing of a material change in circumstances and residing together again is typically considered a material change in circumstances.
The support order will only be modified and/or terminated from the date the Petition requesting modification or termination is filed with the court.
Therefore, if you started residing together again on January 1 but do not file a Petition until May 1, the order would only be modified/terminated effective May 1 since that is when you filed your Petition and not when you resumed cohabiting.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.