Parentage agreements the focus of April 2022 parentage committee meeting
April 28, 2022
BY Kevin Zakreski
At its March 2022 meeting, BCLI’s Parentage Law Reform Project Committee continued its review of the rules in part 3 of the Family Law Act that apply to parentage of children conceived by sexual intercourse, focusing in particular on whether legislation allowing multiple parents should be extended to cover children conceived by sexual intercourse. At the April 2022 meeting, the committee turned its attention to the details that would be needed to flesh out such legislation.
The committee considered whether an agreement should be a required part of the legislation, noting that Ontario and Saskatchewan have existing legislation that calls for a preconception written agreement in these circumstances. Preconception agreements are also a requirement of BC’s Family Law Act, which in section 30 contains enabling legislation for multiple parents of children conceived by assisted reproduction.
The committee began its consideration of this issue by discussing whether the circumstances of conception by sexual intercourse differ from conception by assisted reproduction in any ways that would call for a different approach to legislation. In particular, the committee’s attention focused on the timing of the agreement. Should a parentage agreement providing for more than two parents for a child conceived by sexual intercourse be required pre-birth—as opposed to preconception? Would this timing provide some flexibility that would better address the realities of forming a multiple-parent family when a child is conceived by sexual intercourse? Or does providing for a different timing rule than the one used in section 30 for children conceived by assisted reproduction create the prospect of problems in practice?
The goal of these discussions is to develop tentative recommendations to reform part 3 for a public consultation to be held later in the life of the project.