Adoption and Parentage

Toronto Family Lawyer for Adoption and Parentage

adoption1Adoption, is the creation, by court order, of the legal relationship of a parent and child between individuals who are not related by blood. An adoption order severs the legal ties between the child and the biological parents and in fact once the adoption order is made the child is the child of the adopting parents as if they were the natural parents. In granting an adoption order, a judge grants a change of legal status to the adopted child. The judge has an independent duty to ensure that the statutory requirements for adoption are satisfied. The parties cannot consent to waive those provisions of applicable legislation. The relevant statutory scheme in Ontario is set out in the Child and Family Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.C.11, which constitutes, for the most part, a complete framework for adoption in Ontario. Different considerations and legislation may apply to international adoptions. If the adopting parents wish to re-register the child’s birth under the child’s adoptive name, they do so in accordance with the regulations established by the Vital Statistics Act, R.S.O. 1990. Where a child is 12 years or older, the adoptive parents cannot change the child’s name without the written consent of the child (unless a court has dispensed with consent).

Parentage, is the term used to define the paternity of a child. The establishment of paternity is essential, for among other reasons, to determine child support entitlement and/ or entitlement under an intestacy (where someone dies without a will). In Ontario, the Children’s Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.C.12, at section 8 states that there is a presumption that a male person is the father of a child in certain circumstances. The presumption applies where the male is married to or cohabits with the mother of the child at the time of the child’s birth, where the male was married to or cohabited with the mother of the child within 300 days of the child’s birth or, the male marries the mother of the child after the birth of the child. The presumption can be rebutted, or in certain circumstances, will not be made at all. The determination of parentage is made by the Family Court, where a unified family court exists, or at the Superior Court of Justice, in the rest of Ontario.