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20 of September, 2019
Understanding Parental Authority for Alleged Fathers

Un-expecting, unmarried fathers may feel the need to ask a few questions surrounding their parental obligations toward an unborn child, especially if their paternal legitimacy is in question. Opting for non-invasive DNA tests while pregnant can alleviate some of the stress associated with the uncertainty of not knowing.


How can I determine who the father of my unborn child is?


In situations where there is uncertainty with regard to who the biological father is, mothers can opt for a DNA test while pregnant. The Prenatal Health Genetics Center offers non-invasive DNA tests while pregnant using DNA found in maternal blood. We ensure accuracy greater than 99% for maternal blood samples that are at least 10 weeks into the pregnancy term.


What does Canadian law have to say about paternal rights over the fetus?


Traditionally, it is the pregnant woman who possesses decision-making rights when it comes to the fetus. But, for alleged fathers – having an understanding of what rights a father does have can help both parents make informed decisions before the birth of a child.

Canadian law does not recognize the fetus as rights possessing legal person, and as such the biological father does not have any legitimate rights to be involved with decisions during the pregnancy without consent from the biological mother. The same bodes true for instances where the legitimacy of the father is in question – the alleged father does not have any sort of decision-making ability during the pregnancy term. It is only once the child is born that parental authority and the father’s rights formally kick in.


Are fathers exempt from financial responsibility during the pregnancy term?


No – just because biological fathers do not have any decision-making rights during the pregnancy term does not exempt them from zero financial responsibility.

However, there are a few instances in which the father could be held financially accountable for expenses associated with the well-being of the fetus during the pregnancy.

  • Prenatal Care and Birth Expenses – under the Ontario Family Law Act, the biological father can be court ordered to pay some of the expenses associated with the fetus during the pregnancy and birth of the child. This court order is granted in situations where the relationship between both biological, un-married parents, is deemed significant and permanent to deem them as spouses under the Act.
  • Paternity Agreements – unmarried, biological parents can formally enter a paternity agreement that necessitates the coverage of expenses associated with prenatal care and birth upon both parents
  • Estate Law – in more unfortunate circumstances where the biological father has died before the child was born, his estate may be required to address the child’s financial needs. Regardless of if the father left a formal will behind, his dependents can apply for court-ordered financial support in instances where the support provided does not reasonably meet their needs.  


Do paternal financial obligations legitimate paternal rights?


Despite instances where fathers are required to financially compensate for the well-being of an unborn child, fathers do not have decision-making rights during the pregnancy when it comes to figuring out how money is spent, or how the mother proceeds with her pregnancy from a medical perspective.


What obligations do parents have under parental authority?


Paternal authority is a term used to describe the rights and responsibilities of parents toward their children from birth to until they reach the age of 18. The Ontario Family Law Act dictates that all parents have a formal responsibility to financially provide for their offspring. Other responsibilities include custody, supervision, physical and psychological protection, health and safety, education, providing food, and caring for them.

Even in instances where the biological mother intends to exclude the biological father by not advising him of the birth of the child, the biological father now has rights to become the child’s parental guardian if he becomes aware of the pregnancy or birth of the child within the period of one year.


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This was really informative - thanks for sharing!
Posted by: Carrie | September 20, 2019, 10:43 am
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