‘Paternity’ may be an issue when people, who are not married to one another, have children and do not live together as parents.
For married parents, there is a legal ‘presumption’ (the law automatically assumes) that the husband of the woman who gives birth to a child is the father of that child. There is no legal ‘presumption’ as to who the father of the child is when the parents of the child are not married to one another.
The Parenting and Support Act does not use the word ‘paternity’ or the phrase ‘finding of paternity'; however, it is common for most people involved in these cases to use these words to describe the process of figuring out who the biological parents of a child are.
Paternity findings have to be made when unmarried parents have children together, but:
- never lived together (but had sexual relations with each other one or more times)
- were in a dating relationship
- had a long term common law relationship with one another.