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Tinder Surprises – Support Obligations and Parenting Rights

Written by: Jonathan Song (View All Posts ) Published: November 21, 2017
Categorized: Child Support, Family Law.
Tags: , , , , , .

I recently received some articles about how casual dating apps, like Tinder, have apparently led to a boom in unplanned pregnancies, often where the people dating are not yet in a serious relationship. So, legally speaking, what happens if a casual relationship leads to pregnancy?

Child Support

Child support obligations will kick in unless it can be shown that the person being asked for child support is not the biological father and has not assumed the role of the parent. It does not matter if the relationship was only a few hours old and the pregnancy was unplanned.

What if the payor parent is already financially responsible for other children when the unplanned child is on the way? By law that is not supposed to be an excuse to pay less support for additional children. Such cases have come before the Alberta courts and their response was basically that the younger children should not be financially penalized because they have older half-siblings.

However, a lower level of child support for the new children might still be justified on the notion that the payor parent truly is stretched too thin to pay the normal level of child support for them. Such an argument requires thorough preparation to have a chance at success, and one should definitely see a lawyer about making it.

Spousal/Partner Support

Pregnancies from casual/short-term relationships generally do not lead to an obligation to support the other parent per se whereas an obligation of child support can increase or even create a spousal support obligation if the parties have cohabited for a long time before separation.

However, such unplanned pregnancies can drive down any existing spousal or partner support obligations that either parent may have towards former partners. To put it simply, child support trumps spousal support.  For specific advice on your situation, please contact legal counsel.

Vancouver Family & Divorce Lawyers | Henderson Heinrichs LLP
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