However, child support will only be ordered where the person is found to be a "parent", which is a defined term under the Family Relations Act:
A "parent" includes
(a) a guardian or guardian of the person of a child, or
(b) a stepparent of a child if
(i) the stepparent contributed to the support and maintenance of the child for at least one year, and
(ii) the proceeding under this Act by or against the stepparent is commenced within one year after the date the stepparent last contributed to the support and maintenance of the child;
Section 1(2) of the Act states:
(2) For the purpose of paragraph (b) of the definition of "parent" in subsection (1), a person is the stepparent of a child if the person and a parent of the child
(a) are or were married, or
(b) lived together in a marriage-like relationship for a period of at least 2 years and, for the purposes of this Act, the marriage-like relationship may be between persons of the same gender.
So to summarize, the court will only order a step-parent to pay child support where three conditions are met.
- was either in a marriage-like (common law) relationship with the child's parent for at least two years OR married to the child's parent for any length of time; AND
- contributed to the child's support or maintenance for at least one year; AND
- last contributed to the child's maintenance or support within one year of the date that the child support claim was filed with the court.
This last point means that if the biological parent starts a court action for child support more than a year after the step-parent last contributed to the child's maintenance, the court will almost certainly dismiss the case because it is after the limitation date in the Act.