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Canada family law: Child support and unmarried couples

Costs of raising children are escalating and most often it takes two parents to care for them, including financially. Family law rules typically provide that when legally married couples divorce in Canada, the parent who earns the most money and who usually is not the primary caregiver pays child support to the parent with whom the children are living. But what happens when the parents never married?

The federal government and individual provinces and territories make the determination as to who pays child support in the case of unmarried people who aren't raising their child in one household together. Though there may be slight variations on the legalities in each province, one issue remains the same: Parents have to provide for their children financially no matter what the status of their relationship was and is. The best interests of the children come first.

Not all child support issues and cut and dried, especially when it comes to unmarried same-sex couples. One partner who is not a biological parent may end up paying child support. That is even more likely if the person adopted the child. If the one who is paying child support runs into financial difficulty, a judge may agree to a child support modification.

The bottom line is that some noncustodial parents who aren't primary caregivers must provide financial support for his or her child regardless of one's marital status. Those who are uncertain about the family law rules in Canada could speak to a lawyer experienced with these situations for clarification. A lawyer can help his or her client to understand the dynamics of the many confusing laws and local court procedures.

Source:, "If we never married, do I still have to pay child support?", Accessed on Dec. 1, 2017

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