Parental definition to change in Alberta family law
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | 9:59 AM MT
The government of Alberta wants to update the definition of parenthood to make sure child support orders can be enforced in cases where children are born using assisted reproduction.
Under the proposed legislation, a woman would be considered the mother even if her baby was born from donor eggs and in a donor womb — so long as her partner's sperm was used in the pregnancy, and she consents to the classification.
The reform is needed because advances in reproductive technology have created a situation where courts use different standards to determine who should be considered a child's parent, said Avery McNary, director of legislative reform for Alberta Justice.
"One court will say, 'let's look at the best interest of the child. And another court will say, 'let's look at the genetic connection to the parent.' Another court will say 'let's look not just at the genetic connection but the biological connection.'," she said.
"And then you get all these different rules and you can't predict who's going to be the parent of the child."
Bill 22, the Family Law Statutes Amendment Act, would make changes to three existing laws:
•The Family Law Act would be updated to clarify parentage rules for children born using assisted reproduction. The status of illegitimacy would also be removed from the act.
•The Maintenance Enforcement Act would be amended to "enhance administrative fairness" and boost the ability of officials to collect outstanding funds.
•And the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act would be changed to "make orders between Albertans and parties in other jurisdictions easier to enforce," the province said in a release.