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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 10-24-2017, 12:11 PM
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Default Child Support for a Step Parent

I have a question in regards to a step parents commitment to child support.

I understand that if a step parent is found to be "in place of" a parent they are held to the same standard.

In my situation, the biological father has been in the picture for the entire time of the marriage. He's paid a child support payment every month and has been religious in taking his daughter every second weekend and occasionally at other times.

I am getting conflicting information in some of my conversations. I have been told that I will need to pay child support and then others have said as long as the father is in the picture, active and contributing financially that I won't.

Does anyone have any insight to this situation? Thank you.
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Old 10-24-2017, 12:45 PM
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Does anyone have any insight to this situation?
Step-parent support, which occurs when a third party takes on the role of a parent to the child (known from the Latin as being in loco parentis), is a complicated issue.

How much does the step-parent make? What would their obligation be under the guidelines if they were the bio-parent? What contributions did they make to the child's standard of living?

Is the bio-parent involved? What do they contribute? If nothing, was support sought?

When someone is in the place of a parent for a child with a payor bio-parent, their support amount is usually "less than guideline, more than zero". The key word being: usually. Another complicating factor is that these cases have a higher likelihood of settling, or of the claim being abandoned, due to the financial resources of the family and the tangle of interpersonal relationships.

An analysis of the issue can be found in this case: http://canlii.ca/t/2fv6c

While the payments by bio-parent can reduce step-parent's obligation, it bears noting that this is a one way street. The step-parent's payments do not alter the bio-parent's obligation.
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Old 10-24-2017, 12:51 PM
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Thank you for the reply.

Additionally then, if I was asked to contribute something financially, would I then have some sort of entitlement to custody? Currently the bio parent, who again pays, has the child every second weekend. Would I have some sort of right to structured time like that? Additionally, his amount of $350 per month has just been an agreed upon number between the two parents, if I were being asked to contribute would I have the right to ask that his amount and income be formally validated? I don't know what he earns but I do know that I earn a fair bit more.

It's encouraging to hear the comment that usually these matters get settled. Ideally I am hoping that we can leave structured child support off the table and not have to mess up the current custody arrangement, involve the bio father and his finances and also then I could support and see the child as it works for her and her mother (help out with sports payments, clothing for school etc.) As she's 14 it would be a big disruption for her to have to go to three homes and the situation could get uncomfortable bringing her bio father back into the picture.
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Old 10-24-2017, 01:21 PM
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if I was asked to contribute something financially, would I then have some sort of entitlement to custody?
No; separate issues.

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Additionally, his amount of $350 per month has just been an agreed upon number between the two parents, if I were being asked to contribute would I have the right to ask that his amount and income be formally validated?
This becomes more complicated. The answer is going to depend on whether you are negotiating or in court, and what your lawyer's strategy is on the issue.

Quote:
As she's 14
Assuming a 4 year post-secondary degree, there could be approximately 96 months of support to be paid (8x12). This means that, for every $100 in support, the total value is $9,600 in after-tax dollars.

If the matter is a 2-3 day trial, the combined legal fees should be in the realm of $60k-120k for the family.

This is the math that tends to drive settlements.
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Old 10-24-2017, 02:54 PM
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Alright. Thank you again for the reply. Coming to some sort of settlement clearly seems to be in the interests of both sides.
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