We’ve noted previously on the blog that family law can be slow to respond to changes in how families are formed. The Ontario government has recently taken a step forward with the passage of the All Families are Equal Act, 2016.
Very briefly, the Act amends a series of previous legislation, resulting in the following changes, among others:
- where a child is conceived through assisted reproduction, the assumed parents are the birth parent and the partner of the birth parent, if any, at the time of conception. The parties will no longer have to seek a declaration of parentage from the court;
- a child born via surrogate may have up to four recognized parents without requiring a court order, provided certain conditions are met; and
- the courts will be able to recognize the legal parentage of a child by a person who is deceased where the child was conceived after his or her death, provided certain conditions are met.
While the Act represents an important step forward in recognizing assisted reproduction, critics have noted that it fails to protect parties involved in surrogacy arrangements and may, in fact, leave surrogates and intended parents with fewer legal protections than were available to them before the passing of the Act.
The law surrounding assisted reproduction remains complex. The assistance of a family lawyer can help you protect your interests and plan for your family’s future.