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Who pays child support?
Clear language definitions to common legal terms.
The law says that parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer.
A parent can be the birth or biological mother or father, a non-biological parent, an adoptive parent, and sometimes a step-parent.
Parents must support their children even if they:
- do not live with the children
- do not see the children
- are not married to the other parent
- did not live with the other parent
- did not have an ongoing relationship with the other parent
- have other children from a new relationship
Child support is separate from access
The right to child support and access are two different things. They are both rights of the child. A parent cannot be denied access to their child because they do not pay child support. And a parent who does not have access may still have to pay child support.
You can only refuse to allow access in limited situations, such as if you're afraid for your child’s safety. You may have to call child protection services if you believe your child is being abused by your partner or someone in their home. If you're in this situation, get help right away.