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child support

Anonymous Asked:

if a couple move in together, one of whom has children, how long before the other is legally and financially responsible?

Expert Comment:

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A Family Lawyer
8 years ago

If the couple was married or eventually married, then the test would be whether the other party, the step-parent, ever stood in the place of the biological parent. If the couple was not married then the test would be whether the other party had a settled intention to treat the children as their own or in loco parentis. Of course a finding of being financially responsible does not necessarily mean the full amount of child support, without considering the biological parent's support obligations. We would not typically assess legal obligations during the relationship. The crucial determination is the relationship between the children and the other party and not the relationship between the two parties. For example, did the other party discipline the children, provide moral guidance, attend parent/teacher meetings, support the children in extra-curricular activities, make decisions in respect of health, medical or dental issues effecting the children, direct the children in respect of household chores, and did the other parent receive Father's Day or Mother's Day gifts from the children and did the children call the other party "dad" or "mom". One could look at the intentions of the other party in respect of his or her relationship with the children, but also any replacement of the biological parent as to various needs of the children, the extent to which the children have relied on the support and assistance provided and how that contributed to the standard of living of the children, and the length of the relationship. There is no set period of time, however, and all factors must be taken into consideration. Another issue is whether the other party stood in place of the biological parent or had a settled intention to treat could ever revoke their responsibility for the financial welfare of the children.

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