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Taking paternity action can be a stressful and taxing time for either the mother or father of a child. Because it involves the parents and child, paternity dispute verdicts can have life-changing impacts on all parties involved. For this reason, such processes should not be taken lightly. 

Paternity Issues & Disputes

Understanding how such processes work can make a massive difference in knowing what angle to tackle your case so it can work in your favour. As emotionally, mentally, and financially taxing as this may be, you’ll want to make this time a fair and smooth period and avoid unnecessary delays.

This article will be going through important information that you should know regarding your paternity dispute case. We’ll also be touching on how Gelman & Associates can help you in this difficult time.

Understanding Paternity Disputes

What do we mean when we talk about a paternity dispute? This is when the identity of the biological father of a child, or children is in question. 

Today’s reality is that there are paternity agreements that involve men who choose to raise a child, who is in fact, not biologically theirs. It’s also a sad reality that some fathers aren’t even aware that they are raising a child who is not theirs. We find this in cases where the mother may have been unfaithful during the relationship and has not been truthful about the true paternity of the child. 

If you find yourself in a position where you are facing a paternity dispute, you have to understand that there’s a lot at stake, but this depends on the circumstances at hand. It can go beyond a mother wanting to prove the child’s paternity so the father can be legally confined to paying child support. A paternity dispute could also come from the biological father facing a situation of fighting for visitation rights to see his child. Every family’s circumstances differ. 

Read This Guide if You Are Dealing With Paternity Disputes

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Types of Paternity Disputes

We’re now going to discuss the three main categories of paternity disputes. From this, you can find the right fit for your situation, which can aid in helping you take the next step. 

A Dispute Involving a Presumed Father

Cases such as these involve instances where the circumstance makes the man raising the child automatically deemed the biological father of the child. Excellent examples would include cases like a child being conceived in marriage or a man choosing to take in a mother and the child to stay with him even if he and the mother aren’t married. Such cases make us automatically believe that the man is presumed the father of the child. 

Equitable Father

These cases involve recognizing fathers who play a significant father-figure role in a child’s life but are not biological fathers. Both the parents would need to acknowledge this active role, and in cases where the equitable father goes through a custody battle, the equitable father is granted some right to basic custody rights. However, only some regions afford such an opportunity.  

Unwed Father

Fathers don’t need to be married to the child’s mother to be rightfully regarded as the biological father of the child. During custody battles, however, this factor may dent the father’s custody rights in sometimes causing them to have limited rights. Fathers sometimes have to seek legal routes to gain the rights of unwed fathers. 

What is Presumption of Paternity?

In some cases, the law makes a presumption of paternity where a man will still remain responsible for child support even if it has been proven that man is not the biological father of the child through a DNA test or blood test. A man’s conduct can present him as an active parent to the child. 

When it comes to a paternity test Canada wide, the Children’s Law Reform Act has the following factors as establishments to the presumption of paternity:

  • During the conception of the child, the father was married to the mother.
  • Divorce, death, or annulment occurred 300 days before the child’s birth. 
  • The father acknowledged himself as the biological father of the child and married the child’s mother after the child’s birth.
  • The father and mother were living together at the time of the child’s birth, or the child’s birth happened within a 300 day period after the mother and father stopped living together.
  • The person voluntarily signed the child’s birth certificate.
  • The paternity test Canada court system found the person to be the rightful father.


Dos and Don’ts When Dealing with a Paternity Issue or Dispute

Offer full cooperation with the other parent at all times Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent
Exercise your parental rights Avoid direct contact with the respective parties without the presence of a legal witness
Do your best to have full knowledge of family law and paternity disputes Don’t refuse to follow court orders


Pro Tip

“If you and your former partner cannot come to an agreement or are only able to agree on certain issues, you may need someone else to make the decision for you. It is recommended that you consult a family law lawyer or legal adviser before making any decisions.”


Need Assistance in Dealing with Paternity Disputes?

We know that dealing with a paternity dispute can be stressful and financially exhausting. At Gelman & Associates, you won’t have to worry any further because we’ll provide you with the option you need to deal with your case. Our professional family law lawyers at Gelman & Associates will make sure that you get what you deserve, so don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule one of our free consultations. 

FAQ: Paternity Issues & Disputes

Yes. Getting a lawyer can provide you with the help and legal advice that you need to best deal with your case.

On average, you can expect your paternity test results to become available three weeks after sample collection.

Most paternity disputes are centred around child maintenance, custody rights, and visitation rights for fathers.

Generally, the court will give that individual a chance to obtain a DNA or blood test. If they refuse to be tested, the court may assume that they are the biological father, particularly if there is no evidence provided establishing that they are not. In Ontario, the Children’s Law Reform Act essentially removes any incentive to refuse testing by reserving the right to make an adverse inference/presumption in any event (i.e. whether or not the test is taken).

An unwed father will not have the same legal rights as a married father. At the time of separation, the mother will get custody. The unwed father must prove paternity before claiming custody of his child. If paternity cannot be proven, he will have no rights over his child’s life. Furthermore, if the unwed father cannot prove paternity, then he also doesn’t have to pay any child support.

A person cannot actually be tested without their consent. So, even if a judge has ordered testing to be done, the alleged father can still refuse to submit to the court-ordered test. In this circumstance, the judge is able to take the refusal into account when rendering a decision.

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