Generally, for a non-biological child, the Court will examine whether a person, for the purposes of having to pay support to that child, treated the person as his “child”, had a “settled intention” to do so and, in fact, had provided that person with financial support during the relationship.
Even after death, for example, under Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act, the definition of “child” includes someone who the deceased individual had a “settled intention” to treat as their child.
Generally, the Court will consider, possibly among other things:
did the “parents” pool their income into a joint account?
did the “parents” pay the expenses for all children out of this same account?
did the child in question refer to the man as “daddy” or the woman as “mommy”?
did the “parents” refer to themselves as “mommy” and “daddy”?
did the “parents” share the task of disciplining the child?
did the child participate in the extended family in the same was as a biological child?
was there a change in surname?
did the “parent” express to the child, the family and the world, either implicitly or explicitly, that he or she is responsible as a parent to the child?
In a recent case, in which an alleged parent had died and a former girlfriend applied for “dependent’s relief” on behalf of the non-biological child, the Court remarked:
“In my view, [the Deceased’s] support of [the Applicant] in these ways rises above affection and generosity. Despite the atypical family relationships between [the Deceased, the Applicant’s mother, the Deceased’s biological child, and the Applicant], [the Deceased’s] support of [the Applicant] demonstrates his settled intention to treat her as a member of his unconventional family. I find that [the Applicant] is therefore a dependant for the purposes of the SLRA.”
While this was a case involving a death of a “parent” who had demonstrated a “settled intention”, the same, or a similar result, would likely have been achieved if the case involving the payment of Ontario child support, rather than “dependent’s relief”.
Deleon v. Estate of Raymon DeRanney, 2020 ONSC 19 (CanLII)