The Law Office of Kurt H King

June 12, 2014

WHEN STEP-PARENTS AND OTHER NON-BIOLOGICAL PARENTS MAY HAVE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT BY MISSOURI LAW

Filed under: Divorce,Family Law,Paternity,Support — kurthking @ 8:41 pm
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Missouri recognizes at least two exceptions to the general rule that a husband is not bound to support illegitimate children born to his wife before or during the marriage.  Those exceptions are: 1)  express contract; and, 2) equitable estoppel.

Several Missouri appellate court opinions address issues as to whether the facts of a particular case merit application of one or both of those exceptions.  Thus far, only one Missouri case so holds, that being the early case of L . . . v. L . . ., 497 S.W.2d 840 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. 1973), where husband expressly contracted to support the child to be born as consideration for wife’s agreement to marry him.

Cases ruling against the proponent of such an exception include: White v. White, 293 S.W.3d 1 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. 2009) (same sex partners; failure to plead and prove the elements of express contract or equitable estoppel); Jefferson v. Jefferson, 137 S.W.3d 510 (Mo. Ct. App. E.D. 2004) (Missouri has not adopted the “equitable parent” doctrine; wife misrepresented to husband that he was father of child); Stein v. Stein, 831 S.W.2d 684 (Mo. Ct. App. E.D. 1992) (divorce filed before adoption final; wife, with a profession and independent financial means, adopted on her own, husband having withdrawn from the adoption; husband’s representations that he would support child were made to adoption and immigration officials, not wife, so no express contract; no equitable adoption because no detrimental reliance and no injustice to wife or child); S.E.M. v. D.M.M., 664 S.W.2d 665 (Mo. Ct. App. E.D. 1984) (wife became pregnant while separated from husband, then reconciled, husband treated child as his own until final separation when child was approximately eight months old; wife’s agreement to reconcile not sufficient consideration for an express contract that husband support the child; no detrimental reliance for equitable estoppel).

Step-parents beware.

 

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

816.781.6000

Family Law–Divorce, Modifications, Child Custody/Support/Visitation, Paternity, Guardianship

Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Debtors

http://www.kurthking.com

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