Teen Pregnancy and Child Support

Read below for answers to frequently asked questions

I’m pregnant and I want to have an abortion. Do I have to get my parents’ permission to have an abortion?

In Alberta, you do not need your parents’ permission to have an abortion. However, if the doctor believes you are not mature enough to understand your situation and the consequences of having an abortion, they may want to talk to your parents and get their consent before providing an abortion. You should ask your doctor if they will keep your information private and be sure you understand whether the doctor might have beliefs or policies that don’t suit you and your situation. You should call the doctor’s office ahead of time to make sure that his or her beliefs or policies will not be a barrier to you getting the services you need.

Legal Authorities

  • C. (J.S.) v. Wren [1987] 2. WWR 669 (Alta CA) held that the parental right to determine whether or not their minor child below the age of 16 will have medical treatment terminates if and when the child achieves a sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable him or her to understand fully what is proposed. To “understand fully” means to “understand things like obligations to parents as well as medical matters.”
  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta has developed its own guidelines concerning the consent of minors to medical treatment: http://cpsa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Consent-for-Minor-Patients.pdf?7ebd8d

See also:

  • Gillick v. West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority, [1985] 3 A11 E.R. 402, p. 188-189 – as per Lord Scarman “As a matter of Law the parental right to determine whether or not their minor child below the age of sixteen will have medical treatment terminates if and when the child achieves sufficient understanding and intelligence to understand fully what is proposed.”
  • A.C. v. Manitoba (Director of Child and Family Services), 2009 SCC 30 (bearing in mind this case is technically a constitutional case rather than one dealing with a young woman’s right to decide about an abortion). It confirms the need for ‘sufficient understanding’.

I’m pregnant and I want to have an abortion. Do I have to have the father’s permission?

While it is a good idea to discuss an abortion with the father, you do not need his permission to have one. The final choice is yours.

Legal Authorities

  • Tremblay v. Daigle [1989] 2 S.C.R. 530 – Fathers have no right to ‘potential progeny’

Can the father or the father’s parents stop me from having an abortion?

No, the father’s parents cannot stop you from having an abortion. The choice is yours, not theirs.

Legal Authorities

  • Tremblay v. Daigle [1989] 2 S.C.R. 530 – Fathers have no right to ‘potential progeny’

Where can I go to talk to someone about an abortion?

The major centres in Alberta (Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer) have agencies that will understand your situation and help you talk about abortion.


Do I need my parents’ permission to take the pill?

You do not need your parents’ permission to take birth control pills. Birth control can be given to you by your family doctor.
If your doctor believes that you are not mature enough to understand the consequences of taking birth control or having sex, he or she may require the consent of your parent(s). You should talk to your doctor and ask whether he or she will keep your information private. If you need help in this situation you can talk to someone in:

Legal Authorities

  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta has developed its own guidelines concerning the consent of minors to medical treatment: http://cpsa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Consent-for-Minor-Patients.pdf?7ebd8d
  • C. (J.S.) v. Wren [1987] 2. WWR 669 (Alta CA)
  • Gillick v. West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority, [1985] 3 All E.R. 402.

Can the Court order me to take a paternity test? What if I am under 18?

The Court can order you to take a paternity test to determine if you are the father of the child in question. You, or someone on your behalf can refuse to have the test done but the judge might hold that against you and decide that you will be treated as if you are the father anyway.

If you are under the age of 18 your parents or guardians can give permission for you to take the test.

A male is considered to be the (biological) father of a child if:

  • He was married to the mother of the child when the child was born;
  • He was married to the mother of the child and the marriage ended less than 300 days before the birth of the child;
  • He married the mother of the child after the birth of the child and acknowledges that he is the father of the child;
  • He lived with the mother of the child for 12 consecutive months:
    • during which time the child was born and he acknowledges that he is the father of the child; or
    • stopped living with her but did so less than 300 days before the birth of the child;
  • He is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate by agreement of the parents; or
  • A Court has found him to be the father of the child.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act; Part 1 — Establishing Parentage; S.A. 2003, c. F – 4.5, ss. 15(1); 15(5)
  • Family Law Act; Part 1 — Establishing Parentage; S.A. 2003, c. F-4.5, s. 15(4)
  • Family Law Act; Part 1 — Establishing Parentage; S.A. 2003, c. F-4.5, s. 8

Do I have to pay for the cost of a paternity test?

You must pay the cost of the test but if the test was required by the Government of Alberta and the results show you are not the father of the child, you can ask the court to order that you be paid back for the cost of the test.
If the DNA test shows you are the father, you are responsible for paying the cost of the test.

Legal Authorities

  • s. 6, Alberta Regulations; Income and Employment Support Act; Alta. Reg. 61/2004.

How much does a DNA paternity test cost?

There are several companies across Alberta that offer paternity testing. There is no set cost but at the time this was written you could expect to pay around $425 to $600. It is very important to have a ‘court approved’ test, not merely the cheapest paternity test that can be found.


Is the father of my child a guardian?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the circumstances of your relationship with the father. The law sets out a number of criteria that establish whether the father of a child is also their guardian.

The father may be considered a guardian at law if within one year of finding out about the pregnancy or the birth of the child (whichever is first) he:

  • Acknowledges that he is a parent of the child; and
  • Demonstrates an intention to assume the responsibility of a guardian.

Demonstrates Intention

Answering “yes” to any of the following questions may indicate that the father demonstrates an intention to assume the responsibility of a guardian:

  • Were you and the father married when the child was born?
  • Did you and the father get married after the child was born?
  • Were you and the father either Adult Interdependent Partners at the time the child was born or became AIPs after the child was born? (See “What is a “common law” relationship”).
  • Did you and the father live together for at least 12 consecutive months (no breaks) and the child was born during that time?
  • Has the father provided or offered to provide reasonable support (financial or otherwise) during the pregnancy or after the child was born?

The Court can also use anything else it considers relevant to determine that the father has demonstrated an intention to assume the responsibility of a guardian.

Even if the father does not meet the criteria discussed above, he can still apply to the court to be granted guardianship.

You can visit http://www.albertacourts.ab.ca/fjs/selfhelp/is-my-ex-a-guardian.php for an interactive set of questions that may help you determine if the father of your child is a guardian.

If you are still unsure whether the father of your child is a guardian please contact CLERC (by phone at 403-207-9029 or use the “Ask a Lawyer” part of the website) for more information.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 20 (Guardians of child).
  • Alberta (Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, Director) v VM, 2009 ABPC 372 (CanLII).
    • Interpreting s 20 of Family Law Act regarding establishing guardianship of a child.

Reviewed 09/15


If my child’s father is not named on my child’s birth certificate does that mean the father is not a guardian?

No—whether or not the father is listed on the birth certificate does not determine whether he is a guardian.

If there is confusion as to whether a parent is a guardian then a parent, guardian, or the child themselves can make an application to the court and the court will decide whether the parent meets the requirements to be a guardian.

The law sets outs numerous factors that can help the court determine whether someone is a guardian of your child. For more information on whether the father of your child is a guardian, please see “Is the father of my child a guardian?

If you would like to establish your child’s father as a guardian you should contact a lawyer who can assist you with this process. We encourage you to contact Youth Law (by phone at 403-207-9029 or use the “Ask a Lawyer” part of the website) for more information.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 20 (Guardians of child).
  • Alberta (Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, Director) v VM, 2009 ABPC 372 (CanLII).
    • Interpreting s 20 of Family Law Act regarding establishing guardianship of a child. 

Reviewed 09/15


What rules do I have to follow when I name my child?

Choosing a last name:

The law states that the last name of your child must either be the last name of the mother, the father, or both last names hyphenated or combined.

If the mother and father cannot agree on a last name, then the law suggests the name should be both of the parent’s last names in alphabetical order and hyphenated or combined. If only one parent is listed on the birth certificate, then that parent’s last name must be used.

Depending on the circumstances of the relationship between the mother and the father, there might be advantages or disadvantages to the different naming options.

 Additional “name rules” you may want to consider:

  • All names must consist of letters from the Roman alphabet (example: a, b, c or A, B, C).
  • Numbers (example: 1, 4, 16, 88) are not permitted in a name. Roman numerals (example: II, IV, XI) or numbers spelled out (example: third, seventh) may be used as part of a name.
  • The only punctuation marks allowed as part of a name are: a period (.), an apostrophe (‘) and a hyphen (-).
  • Brackets ( ) or quotations ” ” cannot be used around any names.
  • A space must be used to separate names. Do not use commas (,), slashes (/) or hyphens (-) to separate names. Only use a hyphen (-) when it is part of the given name (example: Mary-Anne).
  • A single letter can be a given name (example: J. or J.B.). A space and/or a period following the letter(s) is optional.
  • Some titles are permitted as part of a name (example: Sr., Senior, Junior, Jr., etc.).
  • Titles that could be misleading, embarrassing, or improper are not permitted as part of a name (example: Doctor, Dr., Reverend, etc.).

 If you’re uncertain as to what last name to give your child, please contact Youth Law (by phone at 403-207-9029 or use the “Ask a Lawyer” part of the website) for more information.

Legal Authorities

  • Vital Statistics Act, SA 2007, c V-4.1, s 8(5) (Name of child), 9 (Refusal of names).

Reviewed 09/15


Should I put the father’s name on my baby’s birth certificate?[/wptabcontent]

This can be a very complicated situation with long term consequences so you should think carefully in deciding what to do. It is best to decide before you give birth. If you have concerns you should contact a lawyer for advice. You can reach us at 403-207-9029 or use our contact form.


Can I give my baby my last name or do I have to use the father’s last name?

If you are unmarried when you register the birth of the child you should use your last name. No information about the father needs to be given. This issue can be quite complicated as there are limitations on changing a child’s surname after s/he is born. It is a good idea to think about it before giving birth. If you have concerns you should contact a lawyer for advice. You can reach us at 403-207-9029 or use our contact form.
A father can apply to court to have his name included. If this happens a court will decide what is in the best interests of the child.

Legal Authorities

  • Vital Statistics Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. V-4, s. 7
  • Change of Name Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. C-7, s.
  • Trociuk v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [2003] 1. S.C.R. 835, 2003 SCC 34

Can I remove the father’s name from my child’s birth certificate?

Probably not. The law allows the Registrar (government official) to amend the information on the birth certificate concerning parentage if both parents (mother and father) wish to add one of them to the birth certificate and the child is under the age of 12. In other words, if you wanted to add the father of your child to the birth certificate, then both of you could apply to amend the information to add the father.

If you are unsure whether the father is the parent of your child, then you (the mother) may ask the court to decide whether the father is or is not the parent.

  • If the father is declared to be the parent of your child, then you are not legally allowed to remove his name from the birth certificate.
  • If the father is declared not to be the parent of your child, then you (the mother) may seek to amend the birth certificate.

One way a father can be removed from the birth certificate is through adoption. For more information on this please see “Adoption.”

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 9 (Declaration respecting parentage).
  • Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, RSA 2000, c C-12, s 72(1) (Effect of adoption order).
  • Vital Statistics Act, SA 2007, c V-4.1, s 11 (Amending of parentage on birth registration document).

Reviewed 09/15


How can I change my child’s name if the father refuses to allow it?

You do not need the consent of the father to change your child’s name if:

  • The father is not on your child’s birth certificate, or
  • You have a court order saying you have sole guardianship of your child.

You will need the consent of the father to change your child’s name if:

The father is on your child’s birth certificate.

In this circumstance your only option is to apply to the court for an order saying you do not need the father`s consent to change your child’s name. The father will have to be served with notice that you are making this application so he has an opportunity to present his argument.

When making this application you will need to convince the judge that changing your child’s name is in their best interest.

The judge will take into consideration factors like:

  • The effects of changing the child`s name
  • Possible confusion of identity; and
  • The potential to change the relationship with both parents.

Please note, there is a $200 filing fee for this application. The application form can be found at https://albertacourts.ca/docs/default-source/Family-Justice-Services/FJS_Change_Name_12.pdf.

Legal Authorities

  • Vital Statistics Act, SA 2007, c V-4.1, s 23 (Name to be changed), s 69 (Dispensing with consent).
  • Pulkinen v Munden, 2013 ABQB 139 (CanLII).
    • Factors to be considered in dispensing with consent of other parent/guardian.
  • Lipphardt v Chan, 2006 ABQB 511 (CanLII).
    • Onus on parent requesting name change to prove it is in the best interest of the child.
    • Parent here could not prove changing name was in child’s best interest.
  • Crane v Boucher, 2007 ABQB 372 (CanlII).
    • If birth father is not a guardian his consent is not required to proceed with change of name application.

Reviewed 09/15


The father of my child was never there when I was pregnant, and he kept telling me to get an abortion. He was not with me when the baby was born. Now my baby is six months old and he wants to see him/her. I don’t think he deserves to see the baby, and I’m afraid the baby won’t be safe with him.

You’re in a difficult situation. If a court is involved in determining whether the baby will see her/his father, whether or not you think he “deserves” to see her/him does not really matter. Whether or not s/he will be safe does matter. What the court must decide is what is in the best interests of the child. This includes whether or not the father has been involved in the baby’s life and how safe the baby will be in the care of his or her father. If you and the baby’s father do not agree on whether or not he can see her/him, the father will have to apply to the court to get a court order. The Court seldom denies all visitation rights to a parent. Depending on the situation, supervised visits can be an option. You should talk to a lawyer about this. Contact us at 403-207-9029 or use our contact form.


Is a Dad always allowed to see a baby?

It is quite difficult to get an order saying a Dad is not allowed to see his child but it depends on the circumstances. It depends on many factors but a judge must be satisfied that a baby will be safe with his or her father. If you think there are reasons why the baby might not be safe you should talk to a lawyer. Contact us at 403-207-9029 or use our contact form.


I want to move to another province because that is where my family lives. Can the father of my baby stop me?

It is possible for the father to stop you from taking your baby out of the province. This is because it could prevent the father from having a relationship with the baby. It is also possible for you to move, but it must be in the best interests of the baby. The baby’s father might still get access to your baby, even if you live in another province. It is best to get legal advice in this kind of situation. Contact us at 403-207-9029 or use our contact form.

Legal Authorities

  • Gordon v. Goertz, [1996] 5 W. W. R. 457
  • L. (R.) v. P. (M.) [2008] CarswellAlta 1242 (Alberta Court of Appeal)

Can I get child support from my baby’s father without letting him see the baby?

Yes. The legal rules are that child support and visitation are two completely separate issues so a child is entitled to both child support and to contact with a parent. A child has a right to know his or her parent whether or not that parent pays child support and the father is expected to pay child support whether or not he is seeing the baby. If a court order is in place stating that the baby’s father has visitation rights (parenting time), the order must be followed. It is a good idea to get legal advice in these types of situations.


 Can I see my child whether or not I am paying child support?

Yes, but you and the other parent need to agree that this can happen. If you cannot agree or the other parent wants to have a court order in place, then you will need to go to court to get an order granting you access/parenting time. Access/parenting time will be granted by the court if it is in the best interest of the child.

If you stop paying the required child support, the other parent is not allowed to get even by stopping you from seeing your child. A parent is not given access to a child as a “reward” for paying support; access is given because it is in the best interest of the child.

On the other hand, if the other parent stops you from seeing your child, you cannot stop paying support to get even. Child support is not an access fee; it is paid because it is the child’ s right and in the best interest of the child. In law, all parents have a responsibility to financially support their children.


My baby’s dad bought him/her some baby clothes and he says this is a child support payment. He says that this is because it is his money and he decides how to spend it – is this true?

No. If you are the one receiving child support, you get to decide how the money is spent. Support payments are separate from money the other parent spends outside of the support payments. If he wants to buy other things for the baby, that is his choice but that amount is not to be deducted from the monthly child support.

Legal Authorities

  • Haisman v. Haisman [1994] Carswell Alta 179 Alberta Court of Appeal – Amounts spent on a child by the parent who is supposed to pay child support, over and above the child support will not be considered part of the child support payable to the other parent. Such amounts spent on a child of the marriage cannot be deducted from the child support that is supposed to be paid.

Does child support to my mom increase if I apply to attend college or university?

It depends on a bunch of different things, but typically child support increases if education costs increase.

If you’re under 18 and going to post-secondary (College, University, etc.)

Your parents typically split the extra education costs based on their income (the same way extracurricular costs are split). The parent receiving the child support has options for how to apply for the increase in child support (like file an application with the Court).

If you’re between 18 and 22

In Alberta, child support usually ends when you turn 18, however child support can continue if you are:

  • 18-22;
  • a full time student; and
  • still dependent on your parents.

The Court (Judge) can decide the amount based on a whole bunch of different factors. The law requires you to contribute to your educational expenses. In figuring out how much child support your parent has to pay, the Court looks at:

  • how much money your parents make;
  • how much money you make (or are capable of making); and
  • anything else that’s relevant (like tuition, fees and books).

The Court will likely expect you to get student loans, summer jobs, or work part time during the year to help pay for your educational expenses.

Alberta student loan website: http://studentaid.alberta.ca/

If you think that you are entitled to more support, we encourage you to contact Youth Law at (403) 207-9029 or email a lawyer through this website to discuss your options for filing an application.  It is usually the responsibility of the parent to make child support applications, but it depends on the circumstances.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 55.2(1). – a recipient of child support may register for the recalculation program.
  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 46 (b)(ii). –18-22 year old dependent person enrolled in full-time studies may be eligible for child support.
  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 49 (4). – A child referred to in section 46(b)(ii) has an obligation to make a reasonable contribution to his or her own education.
  • Federal Child Support Guidelines, SOR/97-175, s 7 – extraordinary expenses include post-secondary education expenses and will be shared by parents in proportion to their income, minus any contribution required of the child.
  • Alberta Child Support Guidelines, Alta. Reg. 147/2005, s 3 (2) – Child support for 18-22 year old enrolled in full time studies is either what it would be if child were a minor or, if that is inappropriate, an amount the court decides is appropriate.
  • Alberta Child Support Guidelines, Alta. Reg. 147/2005, s 7(1) (e) – order for support of expenses for post-secondary education
  • Thompson v Fox, 2013 ABPC 113 (available on WL Can). – Explains what might constitute a meaningful contribution to a child’s own educational expenses.

 Reviewed 07/16


How are child support amounts determined?

It depends on each situation. The federal government determines the basic amount of child support.  The amounts are based on economic studies of average spending on children in families at different income levels in Canada. The basic child support amount is only a guideline and only a Court can officially determine what a person owing child support must pay. The amount depends on:

  • the province;
  • how many children the person is supporting; and
  • how much money they make.

For example: if the person ordered to pay child support makes less than $10,800 per year, they will not pay any child support or pay very little, because the government has decided they cannot afford to make payments. If the person ordered to pay child support makes $50,000 per year, the basic child support payment is $400 per month for one child or $700 for two children.

To view a simplified table outlining the federal guidelines for basic child support payments follow this link.

But this is only basic child support. In addition to the basic child support payments, there may be “extraordinary expenses”. Those costs are split between the two parents based on how much money they make. Each case is unique, but some “extraordinary expenses” include:

  • daycare;
  • medical/dental;
  • school fees; and
  • extracurricular activities.

If you think that you are entitled to support, we encourage you to contact Youth Law at (403) 207-9029 or email a lawyer through this website to discuss your options for filing an application.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 51 – Child support order should be made in accordance with guidelines.
  • Federal Child Support Guidelines, SOR/97-175

 Reviewed 07/16


My mom refuses to seek child support from my Dad. Can I get it from him myself?

Yes, according to Alberta law, a child can apply to the Court for child support. The other people who can apply for child support are:

  • a parent or guardian of the child;
  • a person who has care and control of the child; and
  • any other person who is acting in the child’s best interest.

A person who provides a home, food, and makes decisions that are in the best interest of the child is an example of someone who has care and control of the child.

If you’re thinking about applying for child support please contact us at (403) 207-9029 or use the “email a Lawyer” part of our website and we can discuss your options.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 50 – who can apply to the court for a child support order

 Reviewed 07/16


My mom uses all of my child support money from my dad to buy drugs. Is there anything I can do?

Unfortunately, neither you nor the parent who pays the support has a right to decide how the child support money is spent. However, you have a right to a safe environment at home and important things like food, clothing and shelter.  If you feel that the child support money is not being put toward these important expenses, you could talk to your parent who receives the money.

If your parent or guardian is not providing you these things, you should phone Child and Family Services at 1-877-644-9992.

We also encourage you to contact us at (403) 207-9029 or email a lawyer through this website to discuss your options.

Legal Authorities

  • Hojnik v. Hojnik, 2010 ABCA 192 Para 19- Explains what child support must cover. (Food, housing, clothing).
  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 21 (5)- Responsibilities of guardian in respect of child
  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 21 (6)-  Guardians exercise of powers

 Reviewed 07/16


My parents are not together and the one I live with can’t afford to let me play sports or participate in extracurricular activities. Is there any way to get my other parent to pay for extracurricular activities? Even if they are already paying child support?

Yes, most of the time. Your parent can apply to the Court for the other parent to help pay for extracurricular activities.

The Court will look at:

  • the activity,
  • how much it costs, and
  • how much money your parents make.

If the court decides that the extracurricular activity is in the child’s best interest and is affordable for the parents, the court may ask the parent to help pay for the activity.

If your parents (together) can afford the cost

For example, if you want to play in the band at school and your parents can afford the cost, the parent paying child support could be ordered to help pay the cost based on how much money they make.

Not all extracurricular activities will be considered reasonable. For example, if you want to play on a competitive sports team that is very expensive, because it involves travelling to games and tournaments, it may not be considered reasonable if your parents can’t afford it.

If you are interested in increasing your child support, we encourage you to contact us at (403) 207-9029 or Ask a Lawyer  to discuss your options.

If your parents (together) cannot afford the costs

If you meet certain conditions, most school boards will waive fees (not require you to pay) for school related activities like instrument rentals for band, talk to your principle for more details about the process for applying to not pay your fees.

Calgary Board of Education

Red Deer Public School District

If your parents cannot afford to pay for extra-curricular activities outside of school there are organizations who provide funding just for this! For example:

Jumpstart 

KidSport

Also, the city as well as many recreation facilities also offer fee assistance for families who cannot afford their full rates.

City of Calgary Recreation

Westside Recreation Centre:

YMCA Calgary

Legal Authorities

  •  Alberta Child Support Guidelines, Alta. Reg. 147/2005, s 7(1)(f). – Extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
  • Alberta Child Support Guidelines, Alta. Reg. 287/2009, s 7. – Recipient of child support may apply for a recalculation of support if eligible.
  • Purdie v Coleman, 2007 ABQB 452. – Extracurricular activities that are in child’s best interest and are reasonable in relation to means of parents fall under s.7 expenses.
  • Selner v Gramlich, 2009 ABQB 466. – Costs associated with competitive sports that were unreasonably expensive and not agreed to by parents do not fall under s.7 extraordinary expenses.
  • Calgary Catholic School District DIF-E-1 . 3. (https://www.cssd.ab.ca/Parents/Fees/Documents/DIF-E-1.pdf) – there must be provision at each school to waive fees for parents who cannot pay

 Reviewed 07/16


When does child support end?

Child support usually ends when a child turns 18.

The legal obligation to provide child support ends before the child turns 18 if:

  • s/he becomes a spouse or interdependent partner, or
  • voluntarily withdraws from their parent’s care and is living an independent lifestyle.  However, if a child that was living an independent lifestyle returns to her/his parents’ care, the obligation of a parent to support them is revived.

Child support can be extended to a person who is 18 to 22 years old and remains dependent on their parent(s) or guardian(s) because they are a full-time student. Although a student aged 18 to 22 may be able to get child support, the student has an obligation to try to help pay for their own education along with their parent(s) and/or guardian(s). For example, the student should look for part-time work, or look for a student loan.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 49. – Obligations to support child.
  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 46. – A child is a person under the age of 18 or a person from 18 to 22 years old that is dependent on their parents because of their full-time studies.

 Reviewed 07/16


Does anyone have the right to sterilize me so that I cannot have a child? 

No. It is a serious criminal offence for someone to try to sterilize another person so they cannot have a child.

If you are under 18 years of age, your parent or guardian must make decisions that are in your best interests. Sterilization would not be in your best interest.

It is also illegal to perform any kind of mutilation of a female’s genitals, unless she is undergoing a surgical procedure for the benefit of her physical health.  It is not illegal if she is at least 18 years old, she agrees to it, and there is no resulting bodily harm.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 21(1) – guardian must exercise powers in best interest of child.
  • Criminal Code, RSA 1985, c C-46, s 268(3) – aggravated assault

 Reviewed 07/16


How do homelessness and poverty affect custody and access?

The Family Law Act requires the court to consider the best interests of the child when deciding matters concerning parenting, guardianship and contact orders.

The Court wants to make sure that the child is physically, psychologically and emotionally safe. To do this, the court must consider all the child’s needs and circumstances, including:

  • the nature, strength and stability of the relationship between the child and the person wanting custody or access;
  • if that person can and will be able to care for and meet the needs of the child; and
  • if and how that person will take care of the child.

Homelessness and poverty could have a significant effect on a parent’s ability to create a safe and stable relationship with their child. If the parent has trouble taking care of themselves, it makes it much more difficult to take care of a child.

However, the Family Law Act also recognizes children’s interests in having relationships with their parents.  The court can make an order to allow a child to have a relationship with a parent in poverty if there is a safe and reliable way to do so.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 18 – In all proceedings the court shall take into consideration only the best interests of the child.

 Reviewed 07/16


Can I get child support from the father if he is not named on my child’s birth certificate? 

Yes. Even if the father of your child is not named on your child’s birth certificate, it is a law that every parent has to support their child financially. Your child’s biological father is her/his parent.

A male person is considered the biological father of a child if any of the following apply:

  • he was married to the birth mother at the time of the child’s birth;
  • he was married to the birth mother, but the marriage ended within 300 days (around 10 months) before the child was born (the marriage had to end by death, divorce, or an annulment);
  • he married the birth mother after the child’s birth, and has acknowledged that he is the father;
  • he lived with the birth mother for at least 12 months in a row (no breaks) during which time the child was born, and he has acknowledged that he is the father;
  • he lived with the birth mother for at least 12 months in a row (no breaks) and the period of living together ended less than 300 days before the child was born;
  • he is registered as the parent of the child at the request of both himself and the birth mother under the Vital Statistics Act or under similar legislation in a province or territory other than Alberta (basically: if he is on the birth certificate);
  • he has been found by a Court in Canada to be the father of the child for any purpose (basically: there’s a Court Order saying he’s the dad).

If he’s denying that he is the dad, or it isn’t 100% clear, the following people may apply to the Court for a declaration that he either is or isn’t the dad:

  • a person claiming to be a parent of the child;
  • a person denying he is a parent of the child;
  • the child;
  • a parent of the child, if the child is under the age of 18 years;
  • a guardian of the child;
  • a person who has the care and control of the child.

If you’re applying for a declaration that someone is the dad, you have to tell him before you go to Court. The Judge might make an Order for DNA testing (which can be expensive).

The law on this can be difficult, so please feel free to contact us at (403) 207-9029 and we can discuss your options.

If the father of your child says he isn’t the dad, you might need to pursue legal action in order to get child support from him. A lawyer should help you with this process, and again, we encourage you to contact us.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 7 (2)(a) – Birth mother and biological father are parents.
  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 8 (1) – Presumption of parentage – biological father.
  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 11 – Must give notice to alleged guardian
  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 15(1) – court may obtain blood or DNA tests

Reviewed 07/16


Can I get child support payments during pregnancy?

No. You may make an application to the Court for issues involving parentage, guardianship and child support prior to the birth of the child, but your application cannot be heard until after the birth of the child.

Legal Authorities

  • Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5, s 94 – Application before a child is born

 Reviewed 07/16