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Vancouver Spousal Support Exceptions

BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers are often asked: ARE BC STEP-PARENTS REQUIRED TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT? The answer is yes in many cases – but different rules may apply to a BC step parent’s obligation to support a child that is not theirs but is someone whom they share a new home with.

Our top rated BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers explain the rules to our clients who wonder how biological parent obligations and step parent obligations impact the amount of child support and how long step child support should last. In some cases no support liability may exist and in other cases a step parent might be found to have already met their obligation fully. In other cases “top up” support might be ordered.

Finally, make sure the biological parent has been asked to pay support and find out if they are paying what they owe!

Contact our multiple award winning BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers at any of our offices in Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Fort St John, Richmond or Calgary.

BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers 1-877-602-9900

In today’s blog Rana Yavari, one of our energetic and bright articled students summarizes the principles our top rated BC step parent child support lawyers use to negotiate settlements and argue in court when stepparent child support is an issue. For another great article we wrote on this topic click here.

What factors determine the obligation  for BC  step-parents to pay child support?

Section 147(4) of the Family Law Act makes it clear that a child’s step-parent does not have a duty to provide support for the child unless two conditions are met:

  1. The step-parent contributed to that child’s support for a period of at least one year.
  2. The application for child support is made within one year of the step-parent’s last contribution to the child’s support.

Sections 147(5) of the Family Law Act and the case law on section 5 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines have established that a step-parent’s obligation to support a stepchild is secondary to that of the biological parents.

BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers Types Of Situations

The step-parent support can occur in three situations:

  1. where the biological parent is not available or cannot contribute (he is not known; he or she is dead or whereabouts unknown, incarcerated, drug-addicted, dead, broke, or disabled);
  2. where the biological parent is known but, for whatever reason, is not contributing (the recipient is afraid of him or her, or wants to keep him or her away from the child, or some other reason); and
  3. where the biological parent is known and contributing.

Section 147 has introduced changes to the duty of step-parents to pay child support by imposing limits on the scope of that duty and framing the court’s exercise of discretion in determining what amount of support is appropriate. To decide if a step-parent should pay child support, the court will consider the child’s standard of living when he or she lived with the step-parent, and how long they lived together.

Hire Skilled BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers

BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers
BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers founder Lorne MacLean, QC

Lorne N. MacLean, QC handles high stakes financial issues and complex Bc step parent child support cases. In his win in the precedent setting case of Johnston v Embree, 2013, BCCA 74, MacLean obtained orders related to step parent and biological parent  child support where both the biological father and the step-father remained liable for child support.  The Court referred to section 5 of the Guidelines as it set out a non-biological parent’s obligation:

“Where the spouse against whom a child support order is sought stands in the place of parent for a child, the amount of the child support order is, in respect of that spouse, such amount as the court considers appropriate, having regard to these Guidelines and any other parent’s legal duty to support the child.”

Factors Used By BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers

Relevant factors in determining the existence of and nature of a parental relationship

According to the Honourable Justice Bastarache in Chartier v Chartier [1999] 1 S.C.R. 242, the Court must determine the nature of the relationship by looking at a number of factors, among which is intention. The actual fact of forming a new family is a key factor in drawing an inference that the step-parent treats the child as a member of his or her family, i.e., a child of the marriage. The relevant factors in defining the parental relationship include, but are not limited to the following:

  • whether the child participates in the extended family in the same way as would a biological child;
  • whether the person provides financially for the child (depending on ability to pay);
  • whether the person disciplines the child as a parent;
  • whether the person represents to the child, the family, the world, either explicitly or implicitly, that he or she is responsible as a parent to the child;
  • the nature or existence of the child’s relationship with the absent biological parent.

Once a parental relationship is established, a step-parent is not entitled to unilaterally terminate that relationship and thus avoid child support obligations.

No Relationship Does Not Remove Liability Warn BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers

“Unsatisfactory relationship” is not an excuse for a failure to pay child support

In a recent decision in Shaw v. Arndt, 2016 BCCA 78, the Court ruled that an unsatisfactory relationship is not an excuse for step-parent’s failure to pay child support; nor is it a reason why the stepchild should not be regarded as a child of the marriage. Many parents or step-parents have troubled relationships with their children, but by virtue of their youth, children still have to be supported, in whole or in part, in obtaining training or degrees that will allow them to become self-sufficient.

Hiring top rated BC Step Parent Child Support Lawyers early on helps you get a fair settlement and ensure the biological and step parents fairly share the burden to support a child when spouses re-partner. The phrase “love me and support my kids” can be critical in these cases. Click here to meet with us.