Who’s your daddy?

We had a client come in to see us about getting child support for her son.  She had a child with a man who had disappeared from their lives and had turned up in a different province.  The issue in these cases become, do you apply for an order in Supreme Court here and then try to enforce the order in the other province? It can get pricey doing this because you have filing fees and appearances and if the other party responds, then you have a potentially lengthy court battle on your hands.  When you finally get your order, then you have to enforce it in the other province which generally requires additional filing and then further legwork – phew!

The other option is to file an application under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act – which has been set up to specifically deal with these types of issues.  So if you are looking for child support or spousal support from a party in another province, you fill out a number of different forms and then file it with the ISO Office in Vancouver.  They then send the documents to the relevant province and the documents are served on the party you are looking for support from.  It takes a little longer for the documents to get to the province and be served, but you avoid a number of headaches.

In this situation, the baby daddy steadfastly refused to agree that he was the father.  He threw a lot of mud and tried to bring up various mean and irrelevant issues to show he just couldn’t be the baby daddy.  The court came up with a really simple solution: do a DNA test.

DNA tests are really very simple these days – there are a number of companies with locations throughout Canada, so the mom and child go to a location in their town and the potential father goes to a location in his town.  Everyone gives mouth swabs and then in 5 – 7 business days we have the results.  The cost is in the range of $600 plus taxes.

In this situation, the court required both parties to pay their share of the test pending the results.  Which meant that if it turned out the man in question wasn’t the father, then our client would be expected to reimburse him for his share.  If it turned out that the man in question was the father, then he would have to reimburse our client for her share.

In our situation it turned out that he WAS the father and a round of furious negotiating ensued.  Our client ended up receiving a lump sum payment for outstanding support in the $10,000’s dollar range – she was happy, child was supported and baby daddy was forced to face his obligations.  Oh, and he paid for our client’s share of the test.

I always remind people that when you engage in behaviors that could result in kids – be prepared to pay for them!

Paule Seeger B.A. LLB

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