Judge denies man's request for paternity test on boy
Process may be too distressing for the boy, who has health issues, Halifax judge says
A Halifax judge has denied a man's request for a paternity test on a young teen, saying the process may be too distressing for the boy who has health issues and has grown up thinking another man is his biological father.
But, Justice Lester Jesudason of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court also left the door open for a test in the future, saying the man could have the decision reviewed after 18 months to allow the boy to mature and fully recover from his health conditions.
Jesudason said that period would also give the boy's mother time to prepare to tell the boy, who is not being identified, that the man who has raised him and became his "best friend" is not his biological dad.
"To potentially cause great upheaval in his life now at this delicate stage when ... he's finally showing signs of being in a period of recovery is not in [his] best interests," he said in the decision, released Wednesday following a hearing in the court's family division last Sept. 25.
"I am concerned about causing potential instability for him by forcing the paternity testing."
The 15-page decision describes how the mother had a brief relationship more than a decade ago with the man applying for the test, adding that she was also in a relationship with another man at the time.
The pair worked at the same business and the man met the little boy when the mother brought him to her office when he was a few months old. The man said he asked if the boy was his, and that he believed her when she said no.
Boy looks like him
But he claimed that he had doubts when he saw a photo of the child on her Facebook page and was "shocked" to notice that the boy looked like him when he was a child. He says he showed his own mother, who then contacted the woman and her husband to say she wanted a paternity test done.
The decision states that the man argued it is in the boy's best interests to find out his "biological heritage" since his family has a history of cancer, ADHD and dyslexia.
The judge said the swab test is also not physically invasive and if positive, discussions about his access to the child could be determined at a later date.
However, the boy's mother argued that introducing him to someone identified as his biological father would be particularly traumatic since he has developed a close bond with the man who raised him, and could worsen his "precarious" health.
Curiosity doesn't justify test
Jesudason said the man provided little reason for doing the test, waited years before making the request and did so after his mother took the initial steps to have it done.
"His curiosity alone cannot justify putting [the boy] through the paternity testing process now given the potential turmoil and disruption it could cause [his] life," the judge wrote.
The judge added that unlike most paternity cases, this one does not involve a question of child support.
Jesudason said the review could proceed after 18 months, in part because it may be helpful for the boy and his family to know his genetic background.