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Common Law Issues The law regarding common law relationships is different than in cases of divorce. Discuss the issues that affect unmarried couples here.

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Old 04-09-2009, 10:17 AM
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Default Are step-children children?

My ex-just gave me the separation agreement that her lawyer wrote up. It surprised me because it only listed the 2 children that we had together as children of our "marriage".
We lived together for 2 years common-law, and have 2 young children together. I have joint custody of 2 older children (10,12) from a previous marriage who live with me 1/2 time (week on/week off). She acted as a step-mother for them (1/2 time), providing afterschool care and even collecting Child Tax Benefits for them 6 months out of the year (For 6 months she would collect it for all 4 of the kids, the other six months my 1st wife collected for the older 2.)
The proposed agreement asked me to list the 2 younger ones as the sole irrevokable beneficiaries to my life insurance policy through work. I think it is fair for me to want all 4 of my kids on this policy; isn't that reasonable?
I want my other 2 children (her step-children) written in, even if it is just to waive her obligation to pay child support to me for them or her right to custody of them (I know that she would never want that anyways). Does this make sense? Could I ask for her to pay child support for these step children (more as a negotiating tool than anything)?
I would appreciate any feedback about my rights, and the idea that these 1/2 time children were also "children of the marriage" according to the family law act.
Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:33 PM
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As a general rule it is possible that the non-biological parent who stood in the place of a parent, "loco parentis", could be ordered to pay child support.

Usually it is when they have acted in every sense of the word as parent to the children when the bio parent is absent. In rare cases even if the bio parent pays support and has limited or sporadic access the non-bio parent has been ordered to supplement CS for the non-bio children if their standard of living is significantly lower then the non-bio parent after he/she separated from their bio parent.

Confusing, but it does happen. The majority of the time though it is the male that is ordered to pay not the female of the relationship. I tried to find case law where the non-bio parent was the step “mother” but I couldn’t find any. This is a very short relationship and the bio mother has an active role in the lives of the children so I don’t think there are any grounds to seek CS or even use it as a scare tactic.

As for added all your children on your life insurance policy, I wouldn’t see why not. I think you would have to explain to the courts so that they know that you do indeed have other children that are equally deserving and that you want to amend the wording so that you have all 4 children on the policy.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:33 AM
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Thanks for your quick response.
I agree that asking my ex to pay for child support for her 2 step children after a 2 year common-law marriage is pretty silly, but I was curious about the precedents.
I appreciate your feedback about the life insurance. I already sense that she will not want my other 2 children on my life insurance policy, since she is very protective and soley focused on the two we had together.
She has said that she may require me to take out a separate life insurance policy for her 2 children if I wanted my other 2 on that policy.
Is there precedent for a father to be mandated to take out a life insurance policy to gaurentee that if he dies the mother would still be provided for in leiu of child support. (almost like a wife collecting a husband's pension after he dies or also like mortgage insurance but on child support payments instead of on a mortgage)? This would be an added expense when I am already expected to pay child support and 1/2 of her childcare costs, and willl need to support myself and my other 2 children with whatever I have left.
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:26 PM
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Helpj,

You are not alone my freind - its been 7months since my ex and I split up and she moved the children away from me 2hrs away. My step-daughter was 9 months old when I started an relationship now she's 9yo - My son is now 7yo. I have been trying for the last 7months to work out an separation agreement and have presented 4 propsals to my ex to set CS and benifits for the children and her until she either lives common law or marries. Also a parental plan has been submitted to her. I guess the lack of communcation between my Ex and I is due to the no-contact order that my ex has thrown against me. I have been contacted by her lawyer to solve these issues and try to work them out before the issue goes infront of a court. Before that happends I woud like to go to a mediator.

You should try mediation.
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