Redefining Parents in BC Family Law

redefining parents in BC
Same-sex couple spends time with their child

Today, the Toronto Sun reported that the term “parents” is being redefined in Kansas where a man is being sued for child support for a child that was conceived after he donated sperm to a lesbian couple. Before donating the sperm, it is reported that the man also entered into an agreement with the couple which provided that he was not liable for any child support, and he would not have any parental rights to the child. This case highlights the need for family law to change to keep up with current trends and realities in the modern family.

Beginning March 18, 2013, the new Family Law Act (FLA) will come into effect in BC. The FLA tries to remain current and reflect the ever-changing definition of family, by defining parents differently depending on many factors including their actual relationship with the child and how the child was conceived. The Act specifically considers children who are conceived through sperm donors and in vitro fertilization or surrogacy as follows:

27 (2) On the birth of a child born as a result of assisted reproduction [but not in the case of surrogacy], the child’s birth mother is the child’s parent; and (3)… in addition to the child’s birth mother, a person who was married to, or in a marriage-like relationship with, the child’s birth mother when the child was conceived is also the child’s parent unless there is proof that, before the child was conceived, the person did not consent to be the child’s parent, or withdrew the consent to be the child’s parent.

29 (2) …if, (a) before a child is conceived through assisted reproduction, a written agreement is made between a potential surrogate and an intended parent or the intended parents, and (b) the agreement provides that the potential surrogate will be the birth mother of a child conceived through assisted reproduction and that, on the child’s birth, (i) the surrogate will not be a parent of the child, (ii) the surrogate will surrender the child to the intended parent or intended parents, and (iii) the intended parent or intended parents will be the child’s parent or parents, then (3) On the birth of [such] a child born …, a person who is an intended parent under the agreement is the child’s parent if all of the following conditions are met:

(a) before the child is conceived, no party to the agreement withdraws from the agreement; and

(b) after the child’s birth, (i) the surrogate gives written consent to surrender the child to an intended parent or the intended parents, and (ii) an intended parent or the intended parents take the child into his or her, or their, care.

Another way the Act is aiming to keep BC Family Law “with the times” is that it provides new rights and obligations for common law couples, including the division of property in the event a common law couple separate. Other blogs on this subject can be found here and here.

If you or someone you know needs help understanding the implications of the new FLA on their rights and obligations to their spouses or their children, our family law lawyer can help you understand. Call us at 604-264-5550 for a free claim evaluation.


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