The Costs Of A One-Night-Stand – Family and Matrimonial – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

16 February 2021

Clark Wilson LLP

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People seek out legal advice for many big decisions: Need tosign a contract? Immigrating to a new country? Starting a business?Settling an estate? Going through a separation? Fired from work?Call a lawyer!

However, there is one significant life event where peopledon't often seek out legal advice: when they enter into a newrelationship. Romantic relationships can often become complex legalrelationships. One or both parties may not turn their minds to,understand, nor address the legal rights and obligations betweenthem which may arise during the relationship, and more importantly,in the event that the relationship ends.

While some (but not all) people do retain legal counsel at somepoint in their relationship to prepare a Cohabitation Agreement, orMarriage Agreement/Pre-Nuptial Agreement, this article is areminder for those about to embark on a more, let's say, casualarrangement this Valentine's Day which may have far reachinglegal implications for both parties.

We all recognize that consenting adults can get caught up in theromantic moment. But what if the whirlwind romance leads to a sweetlittle bundle of joy that wasn't necessarily part of the plan?Before embarking on your (COVID wise) Valentine's Day plans, weare here to provide a friendly reminder of the costs of aone-night-stand:

Parents are generally guardians of their children if they areliving together at the time the child is born. However, in BC, aparent who has never resided with his or her child isnot a guardian unless:

If you are the dad in this scenario and mom gives birth to yourchild following a casual encounter, do not assume that you are aguardian simply by being the "sperm donor".

Co-parenting with a former partner can be difficult at the bestof times; but what about co-parenting with whom you have a fleetingor only casual relationship?

"Parenting arrangements" are the arrangementsseparated parents make for the care of their children. Theseinclude decisions about where children will live, where they willgo to school, their religious education, their medical care, andtheir activities.

When you are deciding on parenting arrangements, communicationand understanding are key. The focus must be on the best interestsof the child. There is no precise definition of the "bestinterests of the child", as it will depend on many factors.Every child and family dynamic is different. The factors toconsider include:

Child support is theright of thechild, whether your bundle of joy was intentional ornot. Child support is required to be paid based on the FederalChild Support Guidelines and a parent's gross annual incomefrom all sources. To demine child support, payors must providefinancial disclosure to the recipient each year that child supportis payable, which can include:

Section 7 Expenses are paid in addition to child support, inproportion to the incomes of the parties. These include child carecosts, medical and dental costs, and expenses for post-secondaryeducation (and much more!).

The Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) is a freeservice in BC. Recipients of child and/or spousal support canregister orders and agreements with the program. Once registered,FMEP can takes steps on the child support recipient's behalf tocollect child support directly from the payor and provide thatpayment to the recipient. FMEP's powers are extensive, andinclude:

A word of advice to payors: don't get on the wrong side ofFMEP!

This is just a friendly reminder that some decisions haveunintended consequences. This Valentine's Day, we hope yours isfilled with all of the good kind of surprises! Have fun, be safe,and keep the above in mind!

The content of this article is intended to provide a generalguide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be soughtabout your specific circumstances.

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