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Step Parent Child Support Laws and Ethics


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I am not against a system that tries to ensure kids are taken care of but the current system is just insane in the way that starting a relationship with a woman with kids can mean you are on the hook for support for the next 18 years - support that is in addition to the support that woman still gets to collect from the bio-dad.

Im very curious about this bold part above . Have any back up?

But the system, as it stands, is grossly unfair to non-custodial parents and this imbalance needs to be addressed.

The system ony tries to ensure what is in the best interest of the child.
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Im very curious about this bold part above . Have any back up?

The system ony tries to ensure what is in the best interest of the child.

Tim is being misleading. The courts want to discourage family instability, particularly financial, that happens when there is family disruption. For this reason, they want to discourage step families from splitting up. Someone who stands in for a parent (in other words, a step parent) can be required to pay child support for step children when the marriage ends. It's not automatic though. This usually only happens when the absent parent is not paying and the step parent has acted as a parent to the child.

Example: Say for instance a woman gets pregnant and the father splits. She has the baby then gets married when the child is a year old. The father who split never paid child support and never had anything to do with the child. When the child turns 9 the mother and step father separate. The step father has helped raise the child and supported the family up to that point. The natural father has always been absent and never paid child support and never had any role whatsoever in support in the child or the family. In this situation, it makes far more sense for the step parent to pay child support than the natural father. It was the step parent after all who supported the family and it was the divorce from the step parent that created the disruption in the child's life. It was the combined income of the step father and mother that was being used to raise the child. The natural father had nothing to do with their lives other than being the one that got the mother pregnant in the first place.

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/famil/cons/consdoc/obligat.html?pedisable=true

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I get that and thanks cyber, but it was said 'having a relationship' instead of the term step parent.

Yeah. That's why it was misleading. But you can be a step parent without being married, if you're in a common law partnership. So it's not necessarily marriage that's the key here. The courts will usually look at the situation and see if there's an outside parent already making child support payments. If not then they will look to the step parent and see if the children considered this person a parent or just their mother/father's boyfriend or girlfriend. If the person was a parent to the child, even if the child is not theirs, the step parent can be forced to pay child support (even in a common law relationship).
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As well they should, I might add. You take on the role of raising a child, then the courts are going to try and ensure that the family disruption does not adversely affect the children in any way that they can. Divorce and separation often lead to a significant change in the family's economic status and therefore the ability to provide for the child. That's the entire purpose of child support it 1) discourages family disruption, and 2) ensures that children do not suffer from a significant change in economic status as a result of the disruption.

And before it happens, let's not confuse child support with alimony.

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Tim is being misleading. The courts want to discourage family instability, particularly financial, that happens when there is family disruption.

No. You are being misleading by trying pretend that the court system in more reasonable than it is. The only thing the court cares about is extracting as much money as possible from whoever they can.

This case proves how ridiculous the current system is (and how wrong you are):

Brown v. Laurin [2004] O.J. No. 5233 where a step-father was ordered to pay support for two kids even after they had gone to live with their natural father.

So kids living with their NATURAL father are entitled to support payments from a step father?!!

IOW, your claim that step parents are only on the hook when the natural father is not supporting them is completely false.

Here is a letter by a Family Lawyer talking about the problems with the system:

http://www.karenselick.com/CL0507.html

The step-parent support laws are actually perverse, providing disincentives for socially desirable behaviour. First, they discourage people from entering into relationships with single parents. Second, they discourage people from attempting to forge close relationships with their step-children if they are so foolhardy as to overcome the first disincentive. It is only because so many people are ignorant of the law that it “works” at all.

Edited by TimG
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No. You are being misleading by trying pretend that the court system in more reasonable than it is. The only thing the court cares about is extracting as much money as possible from whoever they can.

Wait....you forgot the hug a thug sentences !

This case proves how ridiculous the current system is (and how wrong you are):

So kids living with their NATURAL father are entitled to support payments from a step father?!!

Yes one case determines the whole viability of the court system.

Of course not.

By the way, that link you ran sucks, she is a good enough writer to be very bloody vague, leading sopme people to come to conclusions that are supported by the whole picture.

Hmmm....I wonder what a 'step-father' is in legalese ?

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Yes one case determines the whole viability of the court system.

One case is enough to show that the current laws need to be fixed. The fact that the system works on precedent (meaning one bad judgement leads to many other bad judgments) means one bad case cannot be ignored.

By the way, that link you ran sucks, she is a good enough writer to be very bloody vague, leading sopme people to come to conclusions that are supported by the whole picture.

Not sure what you meant here but why do you think that you have a better idea of the "big picture" than a lawyer doing family law? The issues she raises are real and should be addressed if we want a just system.

OTOH, if you are one of those people that thinks that fathers are just cash cows to be milked by ex-wives then you probably think that the system is perfectly just the way it is.

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One case is enough to show that the current laws need to be fixed. The fact that the system works on precedent (meaning one bad judgement leads to many other bad judgments) means one bad case cannot be ignored.

Not sure what you meant here but why do you think that you have a better idea of the "big picture" than a lawyer doing family law? The issues she raises are real and should be addressed if we want a just system.

OTOH, if you are one of those people that thinks that fathers are just cash cows to be milked by ex-wives then you probably think that the system is perfectly just the way it is.

Hmmm....I wonder what a 'step-father' is in legalese ?

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Thats correct TimG, it is hugely difficult to end a father role for children and escape child-support payments. Hugely difficult. Rightly so.

Go get your own thread drifters. Where is his omniprescence when we actually need him? Wait I know.......USA sucks......there that should draw the proper attention to this.

Edited by Bob Macadoo
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Peter F even explained this in length some 5 years ago on this forum.

http://www.mapleleafweb.com/forums/topic/13140-who-is-a-childs-father/?p=382339

The fact of the matter is a step-father is a parent. If you act as a parent to a child, then you must continue to support that child when the relationship ends because the courts want to dissuade relationships from ending when there are children involved.

The SCC case that the hard libertarian blogger slash lawyer in Tim's post refers to is Chartier v Chartier 1999. In that case they describe the situation:

A determination of whether a person stands in the place of a parent must take into account all relevant factors, viewed objectively. The court must determine the nature of the relationship and do so by looking at a number of factors, including intention. Intention will not only be expressed formally. The court must also infer intention from actions and take into consideration that even expressed intentions may sometimes change. 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 child of the marriage. Some of the relevant factors in defining the parental relationship are: 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; and, the nature or existence of the child’s relationship with the absent biological parent. The manifestation of the intention of the step‑parent cannot be qualified as to duration, or be otherwise made conditional or qualified, even if this intention is manifested expressly. Once it is shown that the child is to be considered, in fact, a child of the marriage, the obligations of the step‑parent towards him or her are the same as those relative to a child born of the marriage with regard to the application of the Divorce Act. The step‑parent, at this point, not only incur obligations. He or she also acquires certain rights, such as the right to apply eventually for custody or access. Not every adult‑child relationship will be determined to be one where the adult stands in the place of a parent. Every case must be determined on its own facts and from the evidence and it must be established that the adult acted so as to stand in the place of a parent to the child.

Source: http://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/1680/index.do

Hate it all you want, but the law is clear. Anyone who acts as a parent towards a child has the not only the responsibilities of a parent, but also the rights, regardless of biological connection.

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Hate it all you want, but the law is clear. Anyone who acts as a parent towards a child has the not only the responsibilities of a parent, but also the rights, regardless of biological connection.

So you now agree that the law sees men as cash cows to be milked until dry and that fairness and justice are irrelevant as far as the law is concerned? This side discussion is not about what the law is - it is about whether the law is reasonable as written.

BTW: I stated above that the case is Brown v. Laurin [2004] O.J. No. 5233.

Chartier v Chartier 1999 us a difference case.

Edited by TimG
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So you now agree that the law sees men as cash cows to be milked until dry and that fairness and justice are irrelevant as far as the law is concerned? This side discussion is not about what the law is - it is about whether the law is reasonable as written.

If you read my last few posts, where I stand is pretty clear. If you act as a parent, you have all the responsibilities and rights of a parent. That's reasonable.

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If you read my last few posts, where I stand is pretty clear. If you act as a parent, you have all the responsibilities and rights of a parent. That's reasonable.

So you are basically telling any man thinking of marrying a woman with kids that he has to completely ignore her kids because if he is civil and acts like an adult he will be liable for support? I see nothing reasonable about that. Obligations should only be incurred when they are explicitly agreed to. They should not be incurred 'by accident'. Edited by TimG
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So you are basically telling any man thinking of marrying a woman with kids that he has to completely ignore her kids because if he is civil and acts like an adult he will be liable for support?

If he is marrying her....hes made that decision already. If he doesnt want to be responsible, he shouldnt marry her.

I see nothing reasonable about that. Obligations should only be incurred when they are explicitly agreed to. They should not be incurred 'by accident'.

Your example is a poor one by choice of your words.

No matter how one frames it, the interests of the child is paramount. Yes in some cases it appears to be unfair , but is in the best interests of the child.

Should Family Law not be set up that way, then the interests of the child would be diminished.

As for accidents, they happen all the time and no Judge is willing to let that be a reason to deny support.

Your Honour, we were both drunk and I dont even know her name.

Oh...well in THAT case ......

Edited by Guyser2
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So you are basically telling any man thinking of marrying a woman with kids that he has to completely ignore her kids because if he is civil and acts like an adult he will be liable for support? I see nothing reasonable about that. Obligations should only be incurred when they are explicitly agreed to. They should not be incurred 'by accident'.

Obligations are incurred when the person stands in as a parent. They're incurred when intent is demonstrated, as outlined in the passage from the Chartier v Chartier decision I quoted above. What I'm "basically saying" is that someone who is a parent to the child, whether biological or not, is afforded all the responsibilities as well as the rights of a parent. And for the record, I'm not saying it. That's the law. I just agree with it.

Edited by cybercoma
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is in the best interests of the child.

Picking a random guy off the street and telling him to pay to support a child is in the "best interests of the child". So please don't waste time with stupid platitudes. You know perfectly well that the law needs to balance fairness to the payer with the best interests of the child. Given that reality there is no justification for the laws as they now stand when it comes to step fathers.
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Picking a random guy off the street and telling him to pay to support a child

WTF are you talking about? What random guy? The random guy that married a single mother with kids and acted as a parent towards those kids? It's like you're at a jousting tournament where you get the most points for knocking over as many strawmen as you possibly can.

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Picking a random guy off the street and telling him to pay to support a child is in the "best interests of the child".

Youve jumped the shark into idiotland now.

So please don't waste time with stupid platitudes. You know perfectly well that the law needs to balance fairness to the payer with the best interests of the child. Given that reality there is no justification for the laws as they now stand when it comes to step fathers.

Platitudes? Er ....no.

The best interest of the child are what is the concern. Should the ruling appear not in favour of mom or dad....too bad.

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The best interest of the child are what is the concern. Should the ruling appear not in favour of mom or dad....too bad.

What is the definition of best interest of the child? As rich as they can get, as rich as they were during marriage, as rich as an "average 2 parent" child. Its a platitude unless there is context and definition......just saying something to mean actually I don't know but it sounds good is dishonest discussion.

Edited by Bob Macadoo
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Back to the OP.

It looks like Trudeau may have been ahead of the curve.

A national pro-life organization is calling on thousands of its supporters to take out federal political party memberships to help elect anti-abortion candidates and a leading pollster says the initiative could play a key role in the outcome of nominations across the country.
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Tim is being misleading. The courts want to discourage family instability, particularly financial, that happens when there is family disruption. For this reason, they want to discourage step families from splitting up. Someone who stands in for a parent (in other words, a step parent) can be required to pay child support for step children when the marriage ends. It's not automatic though. This usually only happens when the absent parent is not paying and the step parent has acted as a parent to the child.

Example: Say for instance a woman gets pregnant and the father splits. She has the baby then gets married when the child is a year old. The father who split never paid child support and never had anything to do with the child. When the child turns 9 the mother and step father separate. The step father has helped raise the child and supported the family up to that point. The natural father has always been absent and never paid child support and never had any role whatsoever in support in the child or the family. In this situation, it makes far more sense for the step parent to pay child support than the natural father. It was the step parent after all who supported the family and it was the divorce from the step parent that created the disruption in the child's life. It was the combined income of the step father and mother that was being used to raise the child. The natural father had nothing to do with their lives other than being the one that got the mother pregnant in the first place.

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/famil/cons/consdoc/obligat.html?pedisable=true

I know what I'm about to say is anecdotal, but sometimes the justice system does screw up. A friend of mine ended up paying child-support to a woman where he did not take any type of parental role for her child and they lived together very briefly. He's rich but very vulnerable and while I'm always pretty objective when relationships around me fail, I honestly think this woman preyed on him with this exact outcome as her goal.

Personally I don't think I could ask for child-support even in the type of scenario you provided where we were together a long time and he took on a parental role. Sure, I'd think he's a jerk to walk away from my kid who is innocent in the whole thing.... I may even have evil fantasies about taking him to court, but I just find something fundamentally wrong with the whole notion unless a) he legally adopted my kid as his own or B) it would cause undue hardship for me (and I would not put myself in a such a situation).

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