Ask a Divorce Lawyer: Do I have to pay child support for my stepson or just my biological kids?

Question: I am considering a divorce from my wife. We have three kids, and the oldest is my stepson and there is a prior custody agreement in place between my wife and her old boyfriend for my stepson. Our other children are 6 and 4 years old. 

My wife doesn’t work and I’m currently putting her through school against my better wishes given our tight financial situation. We own no property together, have no assets together at all, and no shared savings. I want to try for joint custody and shared physical custody for my two children. 

Since my stepson is not in any way linked to me legally, am I off the hook with him legally in terms of child support?

Answer: First, I have to state that I do not practice in your jurisdiction.  As such, you should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in Georgia to discuss your case further.

Because there is an existing custody agreement in place regarding your stepson, you should not have any legal obligations for support.  Although you are seeking joint custody and shared physical custody, you may still be obligated to pay child support or spousal support to your wife given the disparity in income depending on the laws in your jurisdiction.  Additionally, though you do not own any property together, any property acquired during the marriage may be joint property regardless of whose name appears on the title or the account. 

With that said, you should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in Georgia to discuss your case further.  Cordell & Cordell has many attorneys licensed and located in Georgia who would be happy to assist you. 


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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