Estate & Family Law Blog

According to family law, a non-biological parent may owe support


There are many ways a man can be a dad to a child, and being the biological father is just one. Family law does not rely entirely on paternity when child support is being considered, which may come as a surprise to some. Though this may seem an unlikely scenario, as the definition of family changes in British Columbia, this type of issue may become more common. A recent case shows how complicated the matter can become.

A husband and wife welcomed their first child into the world in March 2009, after three years of marriage. Some years later, the child’s paternity was questioned, and in June 2013, a DNA test was performed. It turns out the woman had had a brief affair, and the child, a boy, was not her husband’s. The couple had separated in 2012, and divorced in 2014. At that time, the woman admitted in court the child was not his, and she did not seek support, despite the judge advising that paternity did not necessarily decide the matter.

Following the divorce, she moved with the child to British Columbia, severing all ties with her former husband in Ontario. That was how matters remained until Feb. 2016, when she suddenly filed for child support from him. In her claim, she stated that he had acted as a father from the time of birth until the divorce, and was therefore obligated to support the child.

The judge disagreed with her assertion. In his ruling, he concluded that the child had not been old enough to form a lasting bond with the man, and likely did not see him as his father. Additionally, because the man had initially been deceived as to the boy’s paternity, he had not been given the choice to raise the child or not. For these reasons, the request for support was denied.

The waters of family law can sometimes be very murky. For assistance in navigating complex issues of child support, custody or other matters, it may be helpful to have a skilled guide. A lawyer experienced with similar cases can help show the way.

Source: Toronto Sun, “No child support for B.C. woman who hid fact from ex he was not her son’s dad for years“, Keith Fraser, March 14, 2017

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