Do I Have to Pay Child Support if We’re Not Married? 19

About: Child Support

Requirements of Child Support Outside of Marriage

Parents who are unmarried are still parents and have the same parental rights and obligations to their children as a married or divorced couple would. That’s because child support obligations do not depend upon the legal relationship of the parents – instead, they depend upon the relationship between the parent and the child. Parents are expected to provide for the basic needs of their children, such as food, clothing, living expenses, education, medical care and the like, whether they are married or not. Unmarried parents are also entitled to make decisions for their children including religious training, educational matters and other issues that are involved in raising a child.

If an unmarried mother seeks child support, the first step would be to establish legal paternity – legally establishing the father of the child. This requires filing documents in court and is typically accomplished through DNA testing which can be done voluntarily with the alleged father’s consent. If he does not consent, the mother can petition the court to order the putative father to submit to testing.

Once paternity has been established, the father can then choose to pay child support and request visitation rights or he can choose to terminate his parental rights. In some cases, the termination of rights would also end the obligation for child support, especially if the mother has remarried and her new husband wishes to adopt the child. Some courts will also allow the mother to agree that she no longer needs the financial support. However, there are just as many cases where the father is allowed to terminate his rights but must continue to pay support for the child. Remember, the court always uses the “best interest of the child” standard and if it is deemed that the financial support is needed, then the father is responsible until the court says otherwise.

If the father chooses to keep his parental rights, the court will issue an order to address child support, custody and visitation arrangements.

In the event that paternity can’t or hasn’t been established, the court will not order the alleged father to pay child support. He can however, voluntarily choose to accept the responsibility.


  • Catherine A.

    My question is,
    I will soon be married and I was wondering if I would have to pay back the “county or child support” for money that is owed on my soon to be husbands behalf? He is currently in prison and hasn’t been able to pay any child support. I’m worried that once we become married that I will have to pay the money on is behalf, i’m in no position to have to take care my child on top of having money taking out of my check for his back pay? Please help

    • creoleigirl

      yes because he would be your husband and by law you are responsible as much as you soon to be husband.. so i would not marry him and have his child taking all my money.. just a little advice

  • lance rotolo

    my ex-girlfriend is trying to take me to court for child support for her son…He is not my biological son,and she and i are not together.I helped her with him when we were together,then she got some support from his biological father…now i still visit with him from time-to-time but not in the last 6 one point she was homeless and could not take care of him so i got legal guardianship of him and then sent him back when she was stabilized….all done through the courts…Does she have a leg to stand on? How can a man that did you and your son a favor and helped you out when noone else would be responsible for your child?

    • confused

      It is called Parentage by estoppel,

  • Maryeli Godinez

    My question is: I will soon get married and i’m the one paying child support will that change? will that be terminated or do i continue paying child support if i re-married and have family again?

    • halfsgirl

      I am almost positive that you will still have to pay, and it could be increased if requested and they will take money also from your spouse.

      • akisor

        That’s not true. 1. Your spouses income can not be factored in to the child support order. It is strickly between you and the biological father. 2. If you re-marry and have more children you could file a modification through the court to have your child support lowered. Children, even from a separate relationship. Are factored in.

  • dongzkien

    my husband now,had an ex partner long time ago,and they are not married.they have 5 kids,and the 1 kid was in his mothers house,but he gave money to his mother…and the 4 kids remain,live in his ex partner,and now she filed to dswd,a child support…the girl use drugs,and thats why he stops giving support because of that reason,and always buying clothes for her own..the money he gave was suppose to his chlidren…before she goes to manila,she gave the two children to the mother of my husband,and she promise not to get something from him anymore.and then when she came back,she took the 1 kid,and now she filed aagain for child support….we thought that that was the last and final decision she made…she divided her childrens.the 3 goes to her,coz it is an underages.and the 2 goes to my husband…do she have the right to have what she want?she want this support for the kids,after she broke her promise to divide their children,and shes using drugs and buying clothes everytime she gets the money…and my husband dont wanna gave money again to her,but all he want is to divide again the kids…not giving money.what if the kiids dont want to go to him…??do he must gave the support?

  • Victor

    I am living in Florida and have a child with my ex-girlfriend. Is there any way to come to an agreement with my ex regarding custody and money without having to go through child support or the courts? For example, instead of letting the court decide the amount I have to pay for child support, could my ex and I come to an agreement and have that agreement become legal?

  • ryan

    I accidently got a girl pregnant who I have no intention of starting a life with and at first she agreed to have an abortion but now she is keeping the baby. She says that I will have no responsibility in the baby’s life and she wants nothing from me but I want to be on the safe side. I would like to have a contract written to protect myself from any future parental responsibility or financial responsibility such as child support. I know she will sign the contract I’m just seeing how I could get a contract written.

  • Lourdes

    I would like to ask if I can file a child support if the father of my child is American in Tennessee and I’m Filipino living in Philippines. Any response will be much appreciated. Thanks

  • caroline

    like lourdes i want to ask the same question and the father of my child we are not married.. he is a filipino but a US Navy, and im here in Philippines, his now married. pls send me an email for your answer…

  • mikebiloxi

    my child mother is getting marry, will i still have to pay child support if she move out of state

  • ann

    I just gave birth 2 weeks ago, my ex boyfriend is an australian citizen and a CEO in insurance company in malaysia,we broke up 4 months before the child is born,i am currently living in Philippnes and a filipino citizen. he said that i decided to have the baby alone and that he has no responsibilty, no obligation and will not support the child for another 20 years. he said he will support the child just for 6 months only and he will stop. what should i do? please i need your advice. do i have to go to the court? where should i go? we are not married, so i dont know if i can obliged him to pay for child support. hope you can help me. thank you

  • leny

    Hi.i want to know if i can file an an annulment even im in abroad?.im from philippines.thanks

  • Regina

    My friend who is a Filippino was contacted by a woman who is a US resident alien. She found him on Facebook and says he is the father of her child. She told him she would have him arrested for not paying child support. If he is not an American or resident alien and paternity has never been established, she can’t do anything, right?

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  • ac

    so i have two kids with the this #*!@& who cheated on me. out of my own free will i give her $
    for the kids-she claims she uses for rent-but now shes pregnant with that a-wipe and living
    with him. Do i still have to give her $, shes always claiming and saying shes gona do this and that
    if i stop?
    Though with our first born whos 7 now, we have court ordered papers that have no mention
    of child support.
    anyone have the answer.
    much thanks-

    .lets get this over with.