East Wenatchee, WA asked in Child Support and Divorce for Washington

Q: My wife has a daughter that isn't mine that I have raised for the past 15 years. Will I have to pay child support?

I never legally adopted her.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Marc Andrew Moses
Marc Andrew Moses
  • Gig Harbor, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: The short answer is no, but it depends on a few other factors.

Children from other relationships are not considered for child support. The "depends" part is if the mother believes you are the father, which can be overcome with a DNA test, which would then result in you not paying child support.

Basically, the law states :

RCW 26.16.205

Liability for family support—Support obligation of stepparent (which you are presumably Not, being unmarried).

....When a petition for dissolution of marriage or state registered domestic partnership or a petition for legal separation is filed, the court may, upon motion of the stepparent, terminate the obligation to support the stepchildren. The obligation to support stepchildren shall cease upon the entry of a decree of dissolution, decree of legal separation, or death.

This law speaks to stepparents and stepchildren, which I understand is not your case, since you're not married to the child's mother. But even if you were married, you would not be responsible. In my practice, we have many cases of divorce and paternity (unmarried couples with a child), where there is a half-sibling. In my experience, that child of the other parent is not considered for a source of child support. The court would look to the biological father of that child.

Of course, your case is specific, and this information should be regarded as general information, and not legal advice specific to your situation. My office is always available to review your case individually.

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