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The Cart Before the Horse: Obtaining Child Support Prior to the Birth of the Child

The issue of child support is well known to separating couples with children, and to the courts in general. In typical cases, child support is paid by one spouse to another after the child is born. However, pursuant to the Family Law Act of Alberta, expectant mothers may also be entitled to receive child support.

In cases such as these, child support can be obtained prior to the birth of a child or retroactively from a payor spouse for costs incurred in the last trimester of a pregnancy and immediately after the child is born.

The Family Law Act, provides that a birth mother may seek support, "during a period not exceeding 3 months preceding the birth of the child."

While there are no reported cases of this occurring in Alberta, it has been reported previously in Saskatchewan. In the case of K. (J.) v B. (K.), 1995 CanLII 5818 (SK QB), lump sum child support was retroactively paid to cover, in part, the four (4) month period of time preceding the child's birth. In Alberta, an expectant mother can receive child support for a period not exceeding three (3) months preceding the birth of a child; this amount can be payable whether or not the child survives the birth.

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