There is a general understanding that when you have a child you and the other parent are financially responsible for caring for that child. This is the stance of the court in New York. According to the New York Courts, you actually are responsible for the financial care of your child until he or she is 21 years old. What you may not clearly understand is when the court gets involved in child support matters.

Child support can be ordered by the court or created in an agreement between parents. Usually, though, the court is involved in some way to legalize the agreement and ensure enforcement of the child support payment arrangements. 

Generally, you will have court ordered child support if you and the child’s other parent are not legally married. So, if you get a divorce or you were never married, then the court steps in. If you were never married, the court will require a paternity test or an acknowledgment in order to make child support orders. Child support may also be ordered if you and the child’s other parent have both lost custody and the child lives with someone else. Child support is paid to the parent or person who has physical custody of the child. This means the parent or person with whom the child lives.

It is important to note that support payments generally last until your child is 21 under the state’s law. However, if your child gets married prior to that age, then support is stopped. In addition, some orders may allow support to stop before that age. This information is for education and is not legal advice.