J. Loco Parentis

Jennifer Lopez recently split from Husband Marc Anthony. Both parties had been in previous marriages; and Marc Anthony had two children from his previous marriage. This is far from uncommon these days; and this gives us a chance to discuss one of the consequences of the breakdown of these kinds of integrated families. If Jennifer and Marc lived in Ontario, would Lopez be required to pay child support for Anthony's children from another marriage?

The Divorce Act states in Section 15.1, that a court can order an individual to pay child support for any "children of the marriage." The act also provides a definition for who precisely is a child of the marriage. That definition is:

"child of the marriage" means a child of two spouses or former spouses who, at the material time,

(a) is under the age of majority and who has not withdrawn from their charge, or

(b) is the age of majority or over and under their charge but unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life;
Child of the marriage

(2) For the purposes of the definition "child of the marriage" in subsection (1), a child of two spouses or former spouses includes

(a) any child for whom they both stand in the place of parents; and

(b) any child of whom one is the parent and for whom the other stands in the place of a parent.

So, if Jennifer was found to be standing in the place of a parent, also known as standing in loco parentis,for Marc's children; she would have an obligation to pay support for the children. In the case of Chartier v. Chartier the Supreme Court of Canada stated that a person stands in the place of a parent when they display a settled intention to treat the child as part of their family. So Jennifer, if she has displayed a settled intention to treat Marc Anthony's children as part of her own family, could discover that while "Love don't cost a thing" child support sure can.

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