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Who is responsible for paying child support?

While this particular blog post is not intended to provide legal advice, it may remind divorcing couples in Ontario of the fact that parents are obligated by the law to financially support their children in accordance with their capacity and capability to do so. Neither a divorce nor a physical separation from one’s children absolves the parent of this duty.
Parents who do not reside with their children following a divorce may be ordered to pay child support. This is true not only for biological mothers and fathers but also adoptive parents and step-parents. For instance, the biological father of a child has a legal duty to financially support his child, even if he and the biological mother were never married nor lived together. Men who deny fatherhood may be ordered by the court to take a DNA paternity test. Step-parents may also be subjected to paying child support whether they were legally wed to the child’s biological parent or were common-law spouses.
When ordering child support from step-parents, the court takes several factors into consideration, including the length of the relationship between the step-parent and the child and the amount of time that has elapsed since the step-parent was involved in the child’s life. The longer that the step-parent goes without contact with the child, the less likely it is that the court may be to order support payments.
Child support is not a simple matter and can raise several auxiliary issues that too are complex. That is why divorcing parents often individually seek the counsel of a lawyer with experience in family law. These lawyers may help parents understand their rights and guide them through complex legal matters.
Source: CLEO, “Who must pay child support?“, November 13, 2014