While most child support and custody conflicts occur after a child is born, occasionally these issues arise as soon as a pregnancy is announced. This is certainly true for men who are expecting fatherhood after former partners dishonestly assured them they were taking birth control. Expectant fathers as well as the women carrying their children may have questions about how Alberta family law distinguishes cases like this when ruling on child support issues.
Many levels of deception can be involved in someone getting pregnant. This can range from a woman saying she can’t get pregnant when she knows this is untrue, to a woman failing to inform a partner when she missed birth control pills. However, no matter how conception occurred, parents in Alberta and throughout Canada are required by family law to support their children financially.
Some people have taken creative steps to try to get around this, such as suing in civil court for damages due to fraud. However, these claims are typically rejected by judges. There is considered to be an innate risk of pregnancy in sexual relations; therefore, the male partner would have to know that this risk was involved even if the other person was on birth control.
Although there are legal actions men can take if they feel they have been violated or been the victim of fraud, their obligation to a child they father is not influenced by this. Under Alberta family law, child support is meant for the child’s living expenses, and the courts will not punish a child for the actions of his or her mother. These cases can get complicated legally, so speaking to a lawyer about one’s specific situation is a good idea.
Source: Financial Post, “She lied about being on the pill, and now she’s pregnant. Do you still have to pay child support?“, Laurie H. Pawlitza, Jan. 24, 2018