How is Parentage Determined in Child Custody Law

You’ve likely seen parentage dramatized in movies and television shows. In these media, issues of parentage are usually portrayed as some secretive test with a dramatic, often tearful reveal – that is, of course, if parentage is mentioned at all. But how is parentage determined in real-world child custody law?

Conditions of Parentage in Child Custody Law in Toronto

A person is considered to be the parent of a child under any of the following circumstances:

  • They are married to the mother at the time of the birth of the child
  • They were married to the mother within 300 days of the child’s birth
  • They marry the mother after birth and acknowledges that he is the natural father
  • They were cohabitating and in a relationship with the mother within 300 days of the child’s birth
  • They have certified themselves as the child’s parent on the birth certificate, adoption papers, or on any other government forms
  • They have been judged by the court as being the parent of the child

Objections and Disputations

While these are conditions in which the ‘default state’ is that the person is declared to be the father of the child, either party has the right to dispute paternity. Circumstantial evidence can be submitted, such as written testimony on behalf of a third party claiming parentage, or evidence of infidelity. In cases where paternity is in dispute, a blood test is usually performed to determine a child’s parentage. DNA tests have been found to be accurate to a very high degree in determining biological parentage.

When parentage is determined, either without rebuttal from both parties or as proven to the satisfaction of the court, the parents are recognized to be legally responsible for the care of the child, which includes visitation rights and the dispensation of child support.

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