Friday, July 13, 2007

Canada Supreme Court: Live In Husband = Dad

no. 406

Supreme Court won't hear 'single mother by choice' case

Common-law wife sought sole legal responsibility for child from sperm donor

Janice Tibbetts, CanWest News Service

Published: Friday, July 13, 2007

© The Vancouver Sun 2007


OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada declined Thursday to consider the case of an Alberta mother seeking to absolve her common-law husband of legal parenting responsibilities of a child she conceived through an anonymous sperm donor because her partner didn't want a baby.”

A three-judge panel, by convention, did not give reasons for refusing to grant leave to appeal in the closely watched case of Jane Doe, which has raised questions about parental freedoms when stacked against the rights of the child.

Jane Doe, described in court documents as a Calgary professional with more than 10 years experience, wanted to have a child with her common-law husband John Doe, but he did not. So she sought a sperm donor and the child was born in August 2005.

The couple agreed to write a contract clearing John Doe of any legal responsibility but, before signing the deal, they decided to go to court to see if it was legally sound under Alberta law.”


The Supreme Court's decision Thursday to reject the case effectively upholds a ruling last winter in the Alberta Court of Appeal.

The Alberta court focused on the rights of the child by concluding that John Doe, by choosing to remain in a live-in relationship with the child's mother, could not dodge parental responsibilities toward a child living under the same roof.”


The Doe case has spawned numerous opinion articles in newspapers, some of which condemned the Alberta court for failing to side with single mothers in their quest to be free of state interference in deciding whether to parent on their own.

Andrea Mrozek, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa-based Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, said Thursday she rejects the premise that the case is about the right of couples to make parenting decisions. "I see it as not actually being about single moms as it being about the rights of the child," she said.”


Comments: My first reaction is what kind of marriage is this and how could this man expect to not be looked up to as a father figure to any resulting child especially if living as husband and wife, even if not under the law.


Happy said...

My reaction...what kind of mother is Jane Doe if she knows that John Doe doesn't want children and she continues her relationship w/him? It doesn't sound like she is taking the most important part of the equation into considerat...THE CHILD!! It makes me question the final psychological issues for that child.

Bea said...

After five minutes' consideration, I have to agree with the court. Although I also agree with those saying, "What kind of relationship is that?"

This is a good test case of the concept that social parenting trumps gene donation. Also, we've decided that fathers can't wiggle out of things just because the pregnancy is accidental rather than planned, even if the woman planned it. The court's decision is in line with both principles. What other decision could they make?

Now, if the couple splits and the mother doesn't want to ask for any support from the father (her defacto husband) that's a personal choice.