Family Law Blog

Is it Legal for a Parent to Hide the Birth of a Child From the Other Parent?


Ontario Family Court Judges generally have a very dim impression of parents, mothers or fathers, who deny their children the opportunity to have a relationship with both parents.  Section 16(10) of the Divorce Act requires that judges give children of married parents the maximum possible contact with each parent that is consistent with the child’s best interestsSection 20(1) of Ontario’s Children’s Law Reform ActSection 20(4) of the Children’s Law Reform Act says that, until decided otherwise, parents are equally entitled to custody of a child.  A significant exception to this is when one parent leaves the child in the care of other parent at separation.  say that by doing so the leaving parent gives the other parent temporary full custody of the children.  This section may not apply in a situation where the separation occurred prior to the child’s birth and the leaving parent was never given the opportunity to leave the child.

Even for very young children, especially infants, current research says that frequent contact with both parent is ideal to allow the children to form a relationship and both with both parents.  Current social science research also shows that it is important for children to develop attachment to both parentsYoung age is not necessarily a reason why a child should not be spending overnights with both parents, but what is most important is frequent contact with both parents and having both parents actively involved in caring for the child, not just visiting.

Ontario Family Law Podcast

7 - Custody of the Children - what it means and how it is decided

14 - Family Court Step by Step - Part 1 - Starting and Responding to Family Court Proceedings

35 - Resolving Children's Issues Outside of Court

One parent refusing to allow the other parent to have any contact with a young child is a situation where it is possible to get an emergency family court order.  This in unfortunate because there is also good scientific research the exposing children to parental conflict can cause children to suffer brain damage.   Those effects can be long lasting and serious.  To avoid that damage parents should first try parenting mediation, with a parenting professional, before going to court.  The parenting professional can help the parents understand the children's needs and help them work out a parenting plan that best suits the child's needs at each stage of development.  If the other parent will never agree to mediation, it is still important to propose it because judges get angry at parents who refuse to try to work out things for the kids without a fight.


But, if a parent is denying a child the opportunity to have a relationship with both parents, it is time to go to Court.

You can learn more about the family court process, how to start a family court proceeding, and what to do at each step by listening to the Ontario Family Law Podcast episodes on the Family Court process and the video below.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - 4th edition cover

You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a comprehensive explanation of child custody, moving with the children, child support, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or iBook for your iPad or iPhone or ordering it from Amazon as a paperback.

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Paperback available on Amazon


But, it is always best to discuss your situation with a top family law lawyer to get advice that is specific to your situation.  Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, is known for his concern for children in separation and divorce and has won many child custody cases.  To contact John, call 416-446-5869, email him , or fill out the form below. (Please note we cannot provide legal; advice by email.) You can use the same form to comment on this page.

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