Am I obligated to provide child support for my stepchild in Kentucky?
Child support refers to the sum that the noncustodial parent must pay to the custodian. This sum serves as a parental contribution for the child's basic living expenses, such as food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. When a court orders a parent to pay child support, the parent must pay directly to the child's custodian rather than directly to the child. States generally do not impose an obligation to pay support for a child after that child has reached the age of 18.
An individual, however, only has a legal responsibility to support one's own biological children. Thus, a court cannot order an individual to pay child support for a stepchild, subject to the caveat that the individual did not formally adopt the stepchild.
Kentucky is one of 20 states that have codified a statute requiring stepparents to provide support for their stepchildren during the marriage. However, the statute in Kentucky relates to the receipt of public assistance. Therefore, unless you and your household are receiving public assistance, it is unlikely that a stepparent would be obligated to financially support the stepchildren, although most will do it anyway.
This is the relevant statute in Kentucky:
205.310. Liability of stepparent for support furnished child.
In addition to any other liability imposed by law, the
stepparent of any child who is an applicant or recipient of
public assistance shall be legally chargeable with the support
of such child in the same manner as a biological parent.