Della Wolf is BC’s first child with 3 parents listed on a birth certificate.
This is thanks in part to BC’s new Family Law Act (FLA), which came into effect in March 2013. The new FLA allows birth certificates to include the names of more than two parents.
Della Wolf Kangro Wiley Richards, now three months old, became the legal daughter of a lesbian couple, Anna Richards and Danielle Wiley, and their male friend Shawn Kangro, after finalizing the registration process last week.
Kangro is Della Wolf’s biological father.
Before embarking on fertility treatment, Wiley, Richards and Kangro drafted up a formal agreement that set out the rules of their new relationship.
Under their agreement, Richards and Wiley would be Della’s primary caregivers, responsible for custody and finances.
The agreement also spells out other rights – Kangro would be identified as Della’s guardian and would have a say in decisions such as schooling.
The agreement also guarantees Kangro, as father would have “rights to access.”
Following the birth, Richards and Wiley first tried to apply last month for the birth certificate online, but were rejected when the form only offered two spots for parents’ names.
They then received a printed form from BC Vital Statistics they then had to slightly modify themselves to fit their situation.
In 2007, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that a child could have one legal father and two legal mothers, making them the first official three-parent family in Canada.
But in Ontario, three-parent families are decided on a case-by-case situation through a litigation process.
Ontario families must apply to the court to look at the situation, which can generate costly legal fees.
BC’s new Family Law Act, however, allows for more than two parents to be listed on a birth certificate.
In an era of fertility clinics and assisted reproduction, the FLA provides a means to clarify who is a parent and who is not a parent.
Previously, biology generally determined who, as a parent, would be listed on birth certificate. The FLA now takes “intent” into consideration.