Without a child support order in place, neither parent can be held legally accountable in court to the other for costs associated with raising a child. Typically, divorcing parents in New York address the issue of child support and custody during the divorce process, and they are often given the opportunity to negotiate these issues without the need for court intervention. However, final approval from the court is typically still necessary.
Child support is intended to help cover the various expenses needed to raise a child in a stable environment, and it includes more than just backpacks and new clothes for school. Housing and feeding a child can be expensive enough as is, and it can be even more so without the contribution from a second parent. This is well-understood in family court, which is why most parents are required to present a child custody and support agreement to a judge for approval prior to or immediately after the conclusion of divorce proceedings.
Children of parents who were never married in the first place are not left out of the child support equation. Should the parents no longer be engaged in a relationship, whichever parent has custody of the child can petition the court to have a support order issued. Before any type of support order can be implemented, paternity of the child must first be established.
Even if two parents feel as though their relationship with one another is solid enough to ignore a legal child support order, there is no way to guarantee that support will arrive in regular intervals without an established court order. There is little denying the benefit of financial stability in a child's life, and family courts in New York understand this. Whether a couple is divorcing or were never married in the first place, a child support order can be an invaluable asset for ensuring adequate care for a child.
Source: FindLaw, "Child Support by Court Order", Accessed on Aug. 3, 2015