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9 September 2022

Supreme Court interprets the law of child support: After a child’s adoption by another man the biological father is not liable for alimony. The lower courts misapplied the law as to when the legal bond between child and biological father dissolves.

In this case, after a divorce the mother married another man, who adopted her child from the previous marriage. The mother sued the ex-husband (biological father) for alimony. Both the trial and appeal courts ruled for the mother. 

The Supreme Court overturned the decision. It noted that the lower courts misconstrued the statutory provisions that preserve the legal bond between a child and a biological parent in some situations after the child’s adoption.

In so doing, the Supreme Court stated the principle that legally a child can have only one father. The lower courts thus misread the law in concluding that the number of parents may be expanded. So, because alimony attaches to a father, and since after adoption a child acquires a new one, the biological father’s duties to the child, including those of child support, cease.

The legal ties between a child and a biological parent may only continue in case of adoption by a spouse of the opposite sex. Thus, a biological father would still owe child support if a child was adopted by a new mother (not father).

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