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Non-biological parents may still have to pay child support

Being a father can be a wonderful experience. The years of caring for and raising a child will leave a lifetime of memories. Imagine the heartbreak of a man finding out the child he thought was his son was not, in fact, his own issue. Yet, despite having no genetic connection to the child, that man might still be required to pay child support after the relationship with the mother ends. This very scenario recently played out in a Canadian courtroom.

A couple had a baby son in March 2009, who they raised together. In 2012, the couple separated after the husband learned the child was not his, but was instead the result of an affair his wife had with another man. Their separation agreement specifically stated there were no children resulting from the marriage, and the divorce went through in 2014. Shortly thereafter, the woman and her son moved out across Canada and cut ties with the man. In a surprising twist, she served notice 18 months later that she wanted child support from him.

The case was brought before a judge who determined the man had stood in for the biological father, and according to family law, he could be compelled to pay support. Although seemingly unique, the case had precedents on which the judge was able to base his decision. However, the judge took exception with the woman's deception, and questioned why she would only pursue money from her ex and not from the boy's father. In his ruling, he not only denied the woman's request for support, but he also ordered her to cover the man's legal bills.

Family law can be complicated, and any number of factors may be considered before a judge makes a decision. Before going to court on either side of an issue, including child support, it might be a good idea to consult with a lawyer. A lawyer's experience with family law in Alberta may be of great benefit when attempting to settle a contentious matter.

Source: macleans.ca, "Duped 'dad' should not pay child support, judge rules", Michael Friscolanti, March 10, 2017

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