Legal paternity in British Columbia encompasses more than just a biological relationship between a child and his or her father. There are several types of recognized paternity relationships that can be established under the provincial family law.
Men who are biological fathers through sperm donation will not be considered to have legal paternity of the child produced from the donor sample. Conversely, a father who has a non-biological relationship with a child through adoption will have legal paternity of the child.
When no reproductive assistance has been used, a child’s father is his or her biological father at birth. A man may be presumed to be the child’s biological father if he was married to the child’s mother when the child was conceived or born. A man will also have presumed paternity if he was married to the child’s mother and the marriage ended within 300 days prior to the child’s birth either through death, divorce or through a declaration of an invalid marriage. If a man seeks to marry the child’s mother following the child’s birth and acknowledges the child as his own, his paternity will also be presumed. The presumption will also stand if the man lived with the child’s mother in a nonmarital relationship within 300 days prior to the child’s birth.
The family law provides a number of ways a man may be deemed to have paternity of a child. If a man wants to establish paternity and an agreement cannot be reached, he may file a motion requesting that paternity be determined. Because this process can become complicated, a person going through such proceedings may benefit from working with a family law lawyer.