Do you have to pay support for a child who isn’t yours?

You’re dating someone who has kids from a prior relationship. Can you be on the hook pay child support if you break up?

The short answer: Yes!

In British Columbia, a court can require you to pay child support if:

  • You married or were common law – you lived together for two years or had a child together;
  • You paid for the care of the kid from the prior relationship – diapers, Disney trip, medications, groceries, etc.; and,
  • Your ex brings a family court application within a year of the last time you paid for the child’s expenses.

What about a biological parent?  Don’t they have to pay?  Yes!

A biological parent is responsible to pay child support; however, if the court thinks the child needs more help or the biological parent is unable to pay, it is possible for both the biological and step parents to both be obligated to pay.

How much support would you have to pay?  That depends on several thing.  For example, did you live with the child for a short or a long time?  Did you make a large contribution to the child’s lifestyle?

Can your ex waive their claim for child support?  For kids from prior relationships, yes, but only after you break up, not at the start of the relationship.

Is there a way to limit your liability if you’re dating someone with kids? Or, if you have kids and you feel their step parent should pay, what can you do? Our family lawyers in Vernon, Kelowna and Lake Country are happy to help with everything from a one hour consultation to court hearings.

Give us a call today.

Author: Benjamin J. Noorduyn