Lets say a single male living in California were to get married to a woman who has an existing one year old child from her previous marriage.

If in the future they were to get divorced, how much of a chance is there that he could be held liable for child support of that child?

  • Short answer: No, absent affirmative action by the man to change this strong default rule.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 26, 2018 at 5:36

1 Answer 1


According to http://info.legalzoom.com/divorce-am-responsible-kids-not-mine-20971.html

Your stepchildren -- the biological kids, adopted children and stepchildren that your spouse acquired in another marriage or relationship before marrying you -- are usually not legally entitled to support from you after you divorce your spouse. However, if you signed a contract with your spouse agreeing to provide child support for a stepchild after a divorce, a court will likely compel you to honor the contract.

  • 1
    The other obvious exception would be the case in which the husband legally adopts his wife's children.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 26, 2018 at 5:22
  • Or if it's his wife's children with another guy. Say the wife cheats
    – user4234
    Mar 26, 2018 at 16:55
  • 3
    What matters is not whether the wife cheated, but who is legally the father of the child. Legally, not biological, they can be different.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 24, 2018 at 7:34
  • It would be good to augment the answer showing adoption, and also that in most states the child, even if the result of an extramarital affair, is still presumed the legal responsibility of the husband.
    – mongo
    Aug 27, 2019 at 13:37
  • @mongo: Those cases weren't part of the question, so I don't see the need to address them in this answer. You can certainly write your own answer if you feel differently, or even a new question which you answer yourself. Aug 27, 2019 at 21:56

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