Who Has Responsibility Of Supporting a Child When Parents Cannot?

Sometimes both the custodial parent of the child as well as the parent responsible for the payment of maintenance do not have the means to support a child. There can be financial reasons for the limitations, as well as numerous other reasons. If the child’s parents cannot look after the child, who does this responsibility pass on to? Take a look at the list of people who take responsibility toward looking after the child.


Both the maternal and paternal grandparents are responsible for supporting a child if neither parent is able to do so. Often all four grandparents can be responsible for contributing financially toward the child, and at least one can be found responsible for the custodianship over the child. Alternatively, if a custodial parent is not receiving maintenance from the other parent, then he/she can claim maintenance from that parent’s parents.


In many cases, siblings are found to be custodians of children, responsible for the upbringing of their brother or sister. This is not uncommon, and legally siblings are responsible for their other siblings’ upbringing if parents, grandparents, and stepparents are unable to do so.

However, this is only considered an option when siblings are adults and have the financial capabilities toward supporting a child.


Stepparents are not responsible for the upbringing of the child as the parents themselves. By marrying their spouse who has maintenance or custodial duties, these duties cannot legally fall upon the stepparents too. However, there have been instances whereby parents have taken stepparents to court and the stepparents were ordered by judges to pay maintenance toward their stepchildren.

The above cases, however, are very rare, and only apply when the stepparent has the overwhelming financial security and the capability to look after their stepchildren without much effort.

As you can see, there are many people who are found responsible for the upbringing of a child when his/her parents are unable to do so. If you require legal assistance regarding the child custody, support, and maintenance of children, don’t hesitate to contact Joselowitz & Andrews Attorneys at the soonest opportunity.