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DNA testing and paternity issues

Sometimes there is a question as to the paternity of a child. It could arise where child support claims are made or where a parent is asking for parental rights.

However, what should be understood is that even where the father of the child may turn out not to be the biological father of the child, he may still be responsible for them.

Who is a “father” under the law?

Under British Columbia’s legislation, a man is presumed to be the child’s biological father if:

  • He was married to the child's mother on the day the child was born;
  • He was married to the child's mother and, within 300 days before the child's birth, the marriage was ended by his death or divorce;
  • He married the child's mother after the child's birth but the mother acknowledges he's the father;
  • He and the mother both acknowledge he's the father and put his name on the birth certificate;
  • He was living in a marriage-like relationship with the mother on the day the child was born or 300 days before the child was born;
  • He acknowledged that he's the father and signed an agreement under the Child Paternity and Support Act.

In the above cases where he is denying paternity, the onus is going to be on him to prove he is not the biological parent of the child.

In many provinces and territories, the law about paternity is going to be similar. If you want to know exactly what the rules are about the definition of the establishment or denial of paternity, consult the legislation of your province or territory.

DNA testing

A paternity test is usually performed by taking a blood sample.

Even where the child is not the biological child of the father but the father has shown that he is treating the child as his own, then there is a good possibility he will be seen as the father of the child.

If the father is proven to be the biological father of the child, the law in every province and territory grants rights and obligations to him. If he and the mother are not a couple, the law gives him the right to custody and access; at the same time he has the obligations to financially provide for his child.

Issues of paternity and custody and access are quite complex and a lawyer should be consulted in such situations.

Read more:

Who is a parent British Columbia

The Children’s Law Act Saskatchewan