Q: Would I owe child support on a stepchild?
My Japanese girlfriend is pregnant with our child and we would like to marry. She has a 4 year old son from a prior marriage who lives in Japan with his father; I have never had any contact with this child. She has been mum about whether her son will return at some point and wants me to focus on our relationship. If I marry her and we divorce at some point in the future, would I owe child support on this child?
A: Unless you adopt the lady's other child, you would have no child support obligation to her for that child. From what you have expressed and the way you have expressed it, you need to retain an experienced NY matrimonial attorney and do not get married prior to having a signed pre-nuptial agreement. I could be very wrong, but this sounds like a "Green Card" marriage to me, and do not be surprised if you come under more pressure to marry and bring her to the US as she is closer to her due date. I truly hope for your sake that I am wrong, but I have seen this all too often before. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE! YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY WHO IS LICENSED IN YOUR STATE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. This is merely suggestions for you to think about in discussing your situation with the local attorney.
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Short answer. No. To add to the gentleman’s comments, someone who is also familiar with the federal immigration law concerning both the rules for a foreign national and your obligation to provide support to her if you marry in the United States. I would seek only an experienced immigration attorney to determine whether a pre-nuptial agreement can void your obligation outlined below, but I would hazard a guess that the answer is “no”.
She will be granted conditional permanent residence status on marriage but after two years you may wish to change that status. At that point, you will be required to sign an affidavit of support, legally obligating you to support her for 10 years, married or divorced. You will always be required to pay child support for your own child, regardless of marital status
A: "this child" presumably refers to your girlfriend's child living with his father in Japan? If I am correct, then, barring extraordinary circumstances ( limited setting where you made specific promises to this child and to your girlfriend of an intent to support this child and your girlfriend and her child relied upon those promises, you could be called upon to provide support for him). Based on what you provided though, it does not sound as if that is taking place and therefore... no you have no obligation to provide support for him.
Thank you for your question. The 4 year old child you mention already has 2 parents. You are not biologically or legally related to him. Unless you marry your girlfriend, adopt him, and then divorce you would not owe child support for that other child.
That being said, you should legally protect your rights regarding custody, etc. to your unborn child if you are not planning to imminently marry your girlfriend. You should consult an experienced family law attorney who can provide individualized advice based on the totality of your circumstances.
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