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Quebec baby to get deceased father’s surname after mother goes to court

Julie Duchesne wanted the paternity of Jean Danyel Savard to be recognized after the province's civil registrar told her it wouldn't be done automatically.
Julie Duchesne wanted the paternity of Jean Danyel Savard to be recognized after the province's civil registrar told her it wouldn't be done automatically. File Photo

A Quebec mother who fought to have her deceased spouse recognized formally as the father of their child has succeeded after being obliged to go to court.

Julie Duchesne wanted the paternity of Jean Danyel Savard to be recognized after the province’s civil registrar told her it wouldn’t be done automatically.

READ MORE: Quebec judge invites province to recognize reality of multi-parent families

Savard, 36, died in a car accident last July while on his way to St-Felicien, Que. prior to the birth of the couple’s first child, Zack.

The couple wasn’t married, and Savard died before the birth and couldn’t sign his son’s birth documents.

READ MORE: The Canadian household is changing with more single dads, more same-sex parents, fewer young families

This week, a judge found in Duchesne’s favour, and the boy will now be able to carry Savard’s last name, her lawyer Wolfgang Mercier-Giguère said Friday.

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“Given that the law states the father must sign and as he was deceased, the only way to (remedy) was to go through the courts,” Mercier-Giguère said.

“In our case, we did a DNA test with the paternal grandfather to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who the father is.”

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The lawyer said that since Duchesne made her fight public last summer, other expectant mother who find themselves in a similar predicament have contacted him. They will have to wait for the babies to be born before those cases can move forward, he said.

READ MORE: More than one-third of young Canadian adults live with their parents

Mercier-Giguère said he does not think the province should require such cases to go before a court when DNA evidence is available.

Duchesne wasn’t immediately available Friday, but she made her son’s name change official in a Facebook post Thursday, adding that she was sure that Savard was very proud in heaven.

“The recognition was very important because it allows her to be recognized as his spouse and obtain a surviving spouse pension,” Mercier-Giguère added. It was also important for the baby, whose father didn’t have a will and is Savard’s only living heir.

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