Family law, Quebec Court of Appeal, Rulings
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Sperm donor granted visitation rights

A sperm donor was granted access rights by the Quebec Court of Appeal after he was deemed as a “significant” third party whose presence “could probably benefit” the child in a decision that has perplexed some family law experts.

The Appeal Court decision has ostensibly watered down the notion of significant third parties, leaves open the question whether a similar finding would have been reached if the third party did not have a biological connection with the child, and serves as a timely reminder that parents involved in a “parental project,” or assisted procreation, should carefully consider whether they want to hand third parties access rights, according to family law experts.

“It’s an assisted reproduction project that deviated into something else, and this is a phenomenon that we are now seeing and will be seeing more often,” remarked Michel Tétrault, a leading family law expert and author of a series of tomes on Quebec family law. “From the time that these ladies allowed access to take place, a form of status quo was created. That’s a message that needs to be sent out: the moment you allow a third party who is supposed to be in no way involved in the parental project to become involved, it opens a door.”

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This story was originally published in The Lawyer’s Daily.

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