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Regina Lawyers

Our Regina Lawyers are available to help you with your legal issue today! Call 1 844-618-8080 (toll free) or text 778-676-3808 to book your free 30 minute consultation with our Regina Lawyers.

We practice in family law, injury law, immigration law, business law, and real estate law.

We can come out to meet you anywhere in Regina. Our law firm is located at:

7th Floor, 2010 11th Ave., Regina, SK S4P 0J3

 

Child Support: Do Stepparents have a duty to provide it?

If you are a stepparent going through a separation or divorce you may think that because you are not the child’s biological parent you are not responsible for paying child support. However, this may not be the case. You should reach out to one of our Regina lawyers right away.

Child support are payments made from one parent to another to contribute to the costs of raising children following the end of a relationship. The Family Law Act’s definition of parent includes a stepparent if certain conditions are met.

The Family Law Act defines a stepparent as a person who is a spouse of the child’s parent and who lived with the child’s parent and the child during the child’s life.

Related: Can My Spouse Make Me Pay for Extracurricular Activities?

Section 147(4) of the Family Law Act states that stepparents have a duty to support their stepchildren if:

(a)    the stepparent contributed to the child’s support for at least one year, and
(b)    the application for child support is made within one year of the stepparent’s last contribution to the child’s support.

Section 149(3)(b) of the Family Law Act includes an additional requirement that the stepparent and the child’s parent are separated.

This means that if you are a stepparent who has previously contributed towards the child’s care, your ex may bring an action in court requiring you to pay child support. Unlike biological parents, the amount of child support will not necessarily be the table amount under the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

Section 5 of the Guidelines states that a stepparent’s obligation to pay can be calculated by taking into account any other parent’s legal duty to support the child. Section 147(5)(a) of the Family Law Act states that a stepparent’s duty to provide child support is secondary to that of the child’s parents.

In H.(U.V.) v. H.(M.W.) (2008 BCCA 177) the BC Court of Appeal held that a parent can’t skip pursuing child support from the biological parent in favoring of seeking payments from the stepparent.

Call 1 844-618-8080 (toll free) or text 778-676-3808 to book your free 30 minute consultation with our Regina Lawyers.

There have been various approaches adopted by the BC courts to determine what the appropriate amount of child support from a stepparent is. In H.(U.V.) v. H.(M.W.) the BC Court of Appeal stated that the focus should be on what the child’s standard of living was during the stepparent’s relationship with their ex.

If a stepparent provided a standard of living that was significantly higher than what the biological parent could provide, it is likely that the stepparent will have to top up the child support paid by the biological parent.

If you are a stepparent currently going through a separation or divorce, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a lawyer in order to determine what your child support responsibilities might be and to check that you are not paying too much child support.

Consenting To Child(ren) Travelling Abroad? Beware The Risks

A fairly common situation separated or divorced parents will have to face at some point in any shared parenting plan is consenting to have your child(ren) travel to a foreign jurisdiction. It is easy to imagine the following; your ex-partner and/or joint guardian of your child(ren) tells you he/she is wanting to take the child(ren) on a vacation for a few weeks to an exotic destination overseas.

Regina lawyers

He/she has already purchased the plane tickets and paid for the hotel and resort. They come to you and provide a full itinerary including such things as; travel dates, airlines, stop-overs, rental agreements for any vehicles, hotel/resort info. including room number(s), has purchased extended health coverage, and lets you know of all appropriate contact persons in case of emergency.

All they ask is that you agree to sign the child’s passport renewal documents and provide them with a short signed letter stating that you, the joint-guardian, agree they may take the child(ren) on vacation as planned. Fast forward two weeks; you’re waiting at the airport to meet the child(ren) as their arrival coincides with the start of your week of Parenting Time. They never arrive. Instant panic.

Apart from the obvious; contacting the airline, following up on the information provided in the itinerary that was given to you, calling the police and waiting to file a report ~ what else should you be looking at?

Our Regina lawyers can deal with international mobility cases, one of the factors I advise clients to consider is whether or not the country being travelled to is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or ‘Hague Abduction Convention’.

This document is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.

Another consideration is the type of law practiced in the foreign jurisdiction at play. For example, countries who are members of the Commonwealth of Nations tend to practice a similar law to what we have in Canada and typically any high court(s) decisions here can be argued as part of any submissions or applications there as well. We can do that because this is most often a jurisdiction that follows what is known as the ‘common law’ standard.

However, there are plenty of foreign jurisdictions where the ‘common law’ does not apply, One example I dealt with recently was where Sharia law was the prevailing standard. In such cases, vastly difference considerations come into play such as, cultural and gender norms and standards.

In other cases, the pervasiveness of corruption and its influence on the function of administrative bodies is something which can’t be ignored.

Regina Lawyers

Call 1 844-618-8080 (toll free) or text 778-676-3808 to book your free 30 minute consultation with our Regina Lawyers.

So the next time you’re asked by the ex-partner or joint guardian of your child(ren) to consent to a passport application and/or to provide a consent letter for travel abroad, make sure you contact one of our lawyers at Hart Legal to know exactly what you are agreeing to first.

Remember, even the most innocent looking of request could dramatically change your life and that of your child(ren) forever.

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