As societal norms have changed, it is not always immediately apparent who a child’s legal parents are. Parents are often unmarried, same-sex, or single and conceive a child through assisted reproduction, surrogacy, or another method.
When you want to establish your child’s legal parentage or challenge an assertion of paternity, contact a Kawartha Lakes paternity lawyer for help. A knowledgeable legal advisor at The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm could guide you through the process and help you achieve your goals regarding paternity.
Under the Ontario Children’s Law Reform Act, s. 7, a man is presumed to be the father of a child under certain circumstances. For instance, a man who is married to a mother when a child is born or was married to her within 300 days before the birth is presumed to be the child’s father. A man who marries a woman after a child’s birth and holds himself out as the child’s father is also legally presumed to be the father.
When a man and woman are cohabitating, and a child is born while they are cohabitating or within 300 days of the end of their cohabitation, the man is legally presumed to be the child’s father. A man also could establish his paternity by signing the child’s birth registration.
Note that although the law presumes paternity, it is possible to challenge the presumption. A person could rebut the presumption by presenting evidence in court that establishes a different man is a child’s father. A skilled Kawartha Lakes lawyer could help a parent prepare a case establishing their paternity despite the presence of a presumptive father.
When a child is born, parents can establish the child’s parentage by signing the birth registration. If both parents did not sign the registration and later a parent wishes to establish their parental rights or obtain child support, a proactive Kawartha Lakes lawyer could petition the court to establish paternity. In most cases, the court directs the litigants to undergo a blood or DNA test. The court will consider the test results as evidence of paternity.
Other factors courts may consider when determining paternity include the man’s relationship with the child. Courts can name men proven to have no biological connection to a child to be the child’s father, based on the man treating the child as if it were his. In some cases, these men become legally responsible for paying child support.
As society’s definitions of family have evolved, the law regarding parentage has changed. Ontario’s All Families Are Equal Act, section 8 of the Children’s Law Reform Act, addresses issues that arise in assisted reproduction, surrogacy, and other arrangements. In many cases, the law relieves the people raising the children born of these arrangements of the need to have a court establish parentage.
The law confirms that if a birth parent had a spouse when they conceived through assisted reproduction, the spouse is a parent to the child. The law also envisages pre-conception parentage agreements, in which birth parents or others could agree to be the parents of a child not yet conceived.
The specifics of these laws are complex. However, they intend to make it easier for the people who raise a child to have the legal imprimatur of parenthood, regardless of the circumstances of a child’s conception. A knowledgeable Kawartha Lakes family law practitioner such as Paul Riley could help a parent or prospective parent take the necessary steps to ensure their legal rights.
If your child does not have two names on their birth registration, you might be interested in establishing their paternity. A Kawartha Lakes paternity lawyer could provide the information you need. If establishing paternity requires an application to the courts, a local advocate could manage the legal procedures and filings.
Establishing paternity confers important rights on the parent and child. Do not risk a mistake. Call The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm today.
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