Family law sometimes requires support from non-biological dads

On behalf of Peterson Stark Scott posted in Family Law on March 22, 2017.

To be a father to a child is not the same as fathering a child. One does not need to be a biological parent to enjoy a loving, parental relationship with a child. However, when the relationship with the mother ends, what family law requirements are there of a non-biological dad to pay child support? A British Columbia mom recently found out one possible answer to that question.

A child was born on March 30, 2009, to a woman and a man in an eastern province. In June 2012, the couple split, and the terms of their separation agreement made clear there were no children of the marriage. It had come out by that time that the man was not the father of their little boy. The woman and the child moved to B.C. after the divorce finalized in 2014, and the man stayed behind. A year and a half later, she served him with a demand for child support.

The judge presiding over the case conceded that the man had stood in place of a biological parent, and was technically legally bound to pay support. Family law considers first the best interest of the child, which in this case was financial support from the only man he had ever had as a father figure. Other cases in Canada had set precedent for this requirement.

In this case, however, the judge opted to award no support to the woman. He felt she had unfairly deceived her ex-husband, and that by moving away she clearly established a lack of desire for a relationship between him and her son. He also wondered why she had not pursued support from the child’s actual father. As a final blow, the judge ordered the woman to pay her ex’s legal costs.

Family law cases are not always straightforward issues. Many factors weigh into a ruling, and what seems like the obvious resolution is not always what’s handed down. To reduce the risk of surprises during support hearings, or other family law matters in British Columbia, it may be best to work with an experienced lawyer.

Source:, “Duped “dad” should not pay child support, judge rules”, March 10, 2017

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