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Do I have to pay child support if the pregnancy was not planned?

By: Steven Benmor, B.Sc., LL.B., Family Lawyer

Jurisdiction: Ontario (Canada)

A New Mexico appellate court ruled that a man who unknowingly fathers a child because his partner told him that she was using birth control could not argue Contraceptive Fraud to avoid paying child support.

In the court decision of Wallis v. Smith (New Mexico Court of Appeal, 22 P. 3d. 682 (2001)), the father of the newborn child alleged that the mother told him that she was using birth control when, in fact, she was not. He argued that she committed Contraceptive Fraud. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, finding that it was against public policy to accept this argument.

The appellate court upheld this ruling. The court relied on the child support laws of New Mexico and held that it had no jurisdiction to recognize Contraceptive Fraud as a ground for relieving a father from his obligation to pay child support.

Steven Benmor

About the author: Steven Benmor practices Family Law in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Visit Steven Benmor’s online Family Law Resource Center for concise answers to many more frequently asked Family law questions, feature articles on Family law topics, dozens of links to other Family law websites, and more at The information on this page is for discussion purposes only. It is by no means legal advice or even a statement of the law on this subject. Please do not rely on the accuracy or completeness of this information. Any question or concern elicited by the information on this page should be taken to a lawyer who will consider the facts of each case and the legal remedies available.