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Common Legal Questions About LGBTQ Parenting

Can two women be immediately registered as parents on a statement of live birth in Ontario without court involvement?

Yes, with some pre-conditions. The sperm donor must be unknown and the child needs to be conceived using assisted reproduction. The person who gives birth to a child may acknowledge another person as “father/other parent” on the statement of live birth if both of the above pre-conditions are met. Given this gender-neutral language in reference to the second parent, two women mat register as parents on the statement of live birth in Ontario.

How can someone apply to the Superior Court for a declaration of parentage?

It is a good idea to seek legal advice before the baby is born. Once the baby is born, your application can go before a Superior Court Judge. It may be helpful to bring a copy of the parenting agreement (if any), an affidavit from the person who gave birth to the child or the egg/sperm donor confirming the renounce their claim to the child, as well as any other documents your lawyer believes will assist in your application.

Can Ontario law recognize more than two persons as legal parents?

Yes, if it is in the child’s best interests. This can be done by seeking a declaration of parentage to that effect.

An alternative way to obtain some legal recognition, although less than full parental status, is to have a court make a consent order (an arrangement proposed with the agreement of all parties involved) that recognizes shared custody. If the court found it was in the child’s best interests, it might grant an order conferring joint custody on a child’s legal parents, as well as on their respective partners.

Can someone other than a legal parent attain custody or access regarding a child?

An individual other than a legal parent may seek an order for custody or access to a child

In the event of a breakdown in the relationship between a child’s legal parent and that parent’s partner who is not also a legal parent, the partner may seek custody or access to the child.

The best interests of the child “will govern any decision relating to custody in this matter. In this fundamental principle, same-sex parents seeking custody are no different from opposite-sex parents seeking custody. In the event of a dispute, a judge will decide who receives custody or access to the child.