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Do I have to pay child support if I learned that I am not the biological father?

By: Steven Benmor, B.Sc., LL.B., Family Lawyer

Jurisdiction: Ontario (Canada)

“Do I have to pay child support if I learned that I am not the biological father?” This very issue was addressed by Mr. Justice Allan Boudreau in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision of Peters v. Graham (N.S.J. No. 452 (November 15, 2001)).

The court ordered that a man, whose wife deceived him into believing for 10 years that he was the biological father of twins, pay child support, albeit at a reduced amount, since the children have two other fathers.

Gregory Neil Peters argued that he should not have to pay support because he was misled by his ex-wife, Lisa Anne Graham, regarding the children’s paternity. The father stated that he would like to continue having a close relationship with the children, however, not as a father, but as a friend.

The lawyer for the ex-wife argued that the decision should emphasize the best interests of the children and not focus on the actions of the parents.

Under the Child Support Guidelines, a Judge has the discretion to order a spouse or former spouse, who is not a biological or adoptive parent but who stands in the place of a parent, to pay child support.

Steven Benmor

About the author: Steven Benmor practices Family Law in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Visit Steven Benmor’s online Family Law Resource Center for concise answers to many more frequently asked Family law questions, feature articles on Family law topics, dozens of links to other Family law websites, and more at www.benmor.com. The information on this page is for discussion purposes only. It is by no means legal advice or even a statement of the law on this subject. Please do not rely on the accuracy or completeness of this information. Any question or concern elicited by the information on this page should be taken to a lawyer who will consider the facts of each case and the legal remedies available.

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