Can an unwed mother who has joint but not physical custody be ordered by a court to pay child support?
Unwed, married and separated or divorced - ANY mother can be liable for child support depending on her financial situation and who has primary physical. Child support is decided in most cases based on a formula. The parents' incomes are totalled (say 600/week and 1000/week=1600/week) and then a percentage is factored as the estimate of what you should be devoting to your children. So 1 child = 30% of your income = $480 if your combined income was $1600. Now in this case the parent making $1000 contributes 62.5% of the total income of the parents, so that parent contributes 62.5% of the $480 = $300 - the other parent contributes $180. If the parent with primary physical custody is the parent making $600/week then child support of $300/week or $1200/month would be the award in this formula. If the other parent has the primary physical custody, the child support award would be $180/week or $720/month. It is a common misconception that the parent who makes less cannot be liable for support. Not all cases are decided on these types of formulas and especially when there are lawyers for one or both parents other factors may come into play. This formula and these calculations are an example and not representative of the actual amounts or percentages the law dictates for child support in any particular region. To find out the actual formula you will need to contact a lawyer, look up your state and local laws, or contact the family court in your region.