Estate & Family Law Blog

Under family law, a non-biological father may have to pay support


What defines a man as a father? Is it the biological contribution to the creation of a child? Or is it the time spent raising and nurturing that child? According to family law in British Columbia, it could be either. A recent ruling on a child support case answered the question of a father’s duty to a child in a somewhat surprising manner.

A son was born to a man and a woman in March 2009. At some point during the next three years, the man found out he was not the father of the boy, and that the woman had had an affair. They separated in 2012, and the signed agreement explicitly stated they had no children together. After divorcing in 2014, the woman took the boy and moved to B.C. She served the man notice that she expected child support payments 18 months later.

The case went before a judge, who issued an intriguing ruling. Though he did state the man had stood in for the biological father, thereby making him bound by law to pay support, no support was awarded. The judge exercised his discretion, chastised the woman for deceiving her ex-husband, and questioned why she did not go after the real father for support. She was ordered to cover the man’s legal bills and the case was closed.

Precedents support the notion that acting as a father is sufficient grounds to warrant child support after a marital breakdown. However, as can be seen, the application of family law is not always clear cut. For help navigating the difficult waters of child support and other family issues, a British Columbia lawyer may be the best choice.

Ganapathi Law Group

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