In Miller v. Miller, 97 N.J. 154 (1984), the court held that in appropriate cases, a stepparent may be obligated to pay child support based on the doctrine of equitable estoppel. Id. at 167. The court reasoned that: It is essential...that, in the interim period between the spouse’s separation and the trial court’s decision on permanent child support, the children have a source of support. We therefore find that if, in a motion for pendente lite child support, the natural parent demonstrates that he or she is not receiving support for the children from their other natural parent and establishes by affidavit that the stepparent’s conduct actively interfered with the children’s support by their natural parent, so that pendente lite support may not be obtained from the natural parent, the children should be awarded pendente lite support from the stepparent. By permitting a spouse to get interim support for the children, we alleviate any immediate hardship to the children caused by the breakup of a marriage in which a stepparent is the sole or major source of support for the family. Such interim support order should remain in force until circumstances justify a modification of the Order or the court makes its final determination.
Person, other than child's natural or adoptive parent, may be charged with a parent's duties and responsibilities if he or she stands in loco parentis. Cumberland County Bd. Of Social Services v. W.J.P., 333 N.J.Super. 362 (2000). Once natural parent has been identified, has been ordered to pay child support, and establishes relationship with minor, in loco parentis support cannot be compelled from stepfather. Id.