When a mother seeks child support or a father seeks parenting time or decision-making authority regarding a child, the child’s paternity could become an issue.
In some cases, the parties must go to court to have a judge establish paternity.
If proving paternity has become an issue in a family dispute, the services of a Toronto paternity lawyer could be most helpful. Whether you are trying to prove or disprove paternity, the process can be emotionally wrenching and challenging. An experienced family lawyer could be a valuable resource as you go through the ordeal.
If a man wishes to be considered a child’s legal father, he does not need to go to court to do so. If he signs the child’s birth registration form, he acknowledges he intends to be the child’s legal father.
In many circumstances, the law presumes paternity. According to the Ontario Children’s Law Reform Act §7(2), a man is presumed to be a child’s father if:
In other circumstances, a man might have to prove he is the child’s father through a declaration of parentage proceeding. A declaration of parentage is also necessary if a man wishes to dispute paternity.
Mothers often bring declaration of parentage proceedings when they wish to obtain child support from a father who denies responsibility for a child. In that situation, a court would expect to see a blood test or DNA analysis establishing paternity.
If a man refuses a test, a court has the discretion to presume he is the biological father and will do so if there is other compelling evidence indicating he is. This provision in the law removes any incentive a father might have to refuse a paternity test to escape responsibility for a child.
A proactive Toronto paternity lawyer could represent the interests of a mother or a putative father in these proceedings. If a court decides the evidence indicates a man is the father of a child, the man is responsible for financial support and could be entitled to parenting time and decision-making power regarding the child. These issues would be considered in other proceedings.
In any family court proceeding that affects children, Toronto courts give the best interest of the child their paramount consideration. A child’s best interest is the result that supports their physical and emotional safety, happiness, and social development.
Thus, in some cases, a father might be responsible for paying child support even if a paternity test establishes that he is not a child’s biological father. If the man has cared for the child as if the child were his own, and the child has developed a parent/child relationship with the man, the man may be responsible for paying for that child’s care.
Similarly, a man who has been acting as a child’s parent despite the lack of a biological relationship could be entitled to parenting time and participate in decision-making regarding the child. A committed Toronto lawyer who represents men in paternity cases could help a man establish their right to continue to be a part of a child’s life.
Whether you are trying to establish that a particular man is responsible for a child, or you wish to assert your rights as a parent, one of our Toronto paternity lawyers could offer skillful guidance. Paternity issues are often emotionally intense, but you can rely on a local legal professional like Paul Riley to be there for you 24/7.
Do not try to handle these issues without competent representation. Schedule a consultation today.
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