As divorce becomes more common in modern society there are also an increasing number of blended families with parents or children that are not biologically related to one another.
It is an important part of the Canadian Divorce Act to protect the interests and well-being of everyone who is involved in a divorce. So it follows naturally that there are guidelines to follow about the support obligations even in these situations.
Legislation mentions that parents are responsible for financial support of any children of the marriage. This covers situations where a divorcing parent may marry into another family – they will still be responsible for the well-being of the children from their prior marriage.
Legislation also states that one who stands in the place of parent (also known as loco parentis) may also be responsible to support a child and this is how the legal system can require step-parent to provide support even if they are not direct blood relations of their stepchildren.
Where this relatively straight-forward legislation can get complex in situations where both parents of a family remarry into other families. It may not be immediately obvious for what portion of support each party remains responsible for.
Generally speaking, the court is likely to consider the individual relationships. The role of the biological parent is easier to understand and dictate, while the role of the step-parent can depend on their closeness with the child, or children, and how involved they are in each other’s’ lives.
The highly subjective nature of a step parent’s role in child support makes it necessary to consult with a family lawyer who can give some valuable insight into what to expect. Whether the courts eventually determine that the stepparent is responsible for an equal or smaller portion of the support, you will want to be able to work with a legal professional who can represent your financial interests and wellbeing.