adoptions

Rights of Parenthood

When we think of adoption, we often think of the event where a child is adopted by a couple through a Children’s Aid Society or other agency.  There are several other circumstances where families seek to have the legal status of their children secured.   There are families comprised of same-sex couples where one partner wishes to adopt the other partner’s biological child.   This is particularly important where there is a known donor.  There are blended families where a new partner wishes to adopt the children born from a former relationship.  This process is called an adoption by a relative or stepparent and has its own unique process.  It is the only legal manner in which all the rights of parenthood will be expanded to include the adoption applicants.       

The inability of lesbian couples to register the births of their children with both parents when they have used a known sperm donor has led many couples to pursue a joint application for adoption.  As a result, same-sex couples in Ontario routinely and regularly adopt the biological children of their partner. 

Upon the birth of a child in Ontario, the Vital Statistics Act requires every legally qualified medical practitioner or nurse who attends at the birth must mail a notice of birth within two days to the Registrar.   This notice contains particulars of the birth such as gender, birth weight, and place of birth.  Within thirty days of a child’s birth, the child’s mother or the child’s mother and father, if the father is acknowledged or known to the mother, must also complete a Statement of Birth and mail it to the Registrar.  This form contains the child’s chosen name and particulars about the child’s mother and father/other parent.  In the event that the mother does not acknowledge the father/other parent or if s/he is unknown, she need not complete the information.

We are recognized as the experts in Ontario with respect to adoptions involving assisted human reproduction.   We can assist you with these adoptions.  We also frequently represent relatives who are adopting children from other relatives who are unwilling or unable to care for a child.   

Naming a Child at Birth  

There are strict guidelines in the Vital Statistics Act to determine a child’s surname at birth.  If both a mother and father certify the child’s birth, the child can have either parent’s surname, hyphenated or combined.  If the mother certifies the child’s birth and the father is unknown or unacknowledged by her, she may give the child her surname or former surname.  However, where the person certifying the child’s birth indicates in the Statement of Live Birth that he or she wishes to give the child a surname that is determined in accordance with the child’s cultural, ethnic or religious heritage, the child may be given that surname as the Registrar General approves.   Co-parenting gay men or lesbians cannot register their child’s name as a combination of their surnames.  However, the Registrar now accepts that “same-sex partners” represent a child’s cultural heritage and will allow either lesbian parent’s surname, hyphenated or combined to be the child’s surname, provided  the non-biological mother consents to the use of her surname for the child.     A child’s name can be changed through an adoption or a declaration of parentage (parentage order).  

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skills, understanding and experience

Kelly Jordan has extensive skills and expertise in all areas of family law. She has a reputation for her abilities as a tough advocate for challenging cases but also for her abilities to maintain and pursue fairness by way of mediation and alternate dispute resolution

If you are seeking solid experience of a lawyer who is both understanding and skilled, contact Kelly or her law clerk Liz to set up an appointment.

Kelly recently contributed
a chapter on family property
rights for cohabitants
to the newest publication
on Ontario family property law..
To order a copy of this text,
click below.

Property Rights and Obligations Under Ontario Family Law


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