Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Child Support and Child Custody for Step-Parents

Can step-parents win child custody?

Step-parents are in a similar situation to that of grandparents, a topic we discussed in Monday’s post. In most situations, step-parents do not factor into a child custody determination, which will involve only the child’s biological parents and the child’s best interests. If there is a danger to the child or if the child’s biological parents are deemed unfit, however, other parties like step-parents and relatives may be able to convince a Texas family law court that their household would be in the best interests of the child.

Do step-parents have to pay child support?

Step-parents usually do not have to pay child support, as Texas law requires only biological parents to do so. However, there are situations where a step-parent does have to pay child support. If the step-parent formally adopted the child, then he or she is obligated to pay child support. In order for a step-parent to adopt a step-child in Texas, that child’s non-custodial, biological parent must give up his or her parental rights. Also, a divorce settlement can specify that a step-parent agreed to provide child support.

Aside from these special situations, step-parents do not pay child support for their step-children, but, outside of Texas, this is not always the case. For instance, some states require step-parents who share a household with a minor child to provide support in the event that support from the child’s biological parents is not enough. As such, we always advise that you consult with an expert divorce attorney regarding child custody and child support.

Are you a step-parent who has sought child custody of a step-child following a divorce? How did you argue your case?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

1 Comment so far

  1. It is true that in order for a stepparent to adopt the child of their spouse, the other parent must surrender their parental rights. In Illinois, courts also may involuntarily terminate parental rights if the other parent has abandoned the child, failed to maintain a meaningful relationship or failed to provide financial support. Sometimes this is a relatively low standard for would-be adoptive stepparents to prove.