Is a contract for the transfer of rights and liabilities of the mother of an illegitimate child invalid?

Saskatchewan, Canada


The following excerpt is from Cody v. Cody, 1927 CanLII 206 (SK QB):

Now, I take it as clearly settled also that the custody and control of a child, and the duties imposed upon a father in respect thereto, are not granted or imposed upon the parent for the sole benefit of the parent. In Humtphrys v. Polak [1901] 2 K.B. 385, 70 L.J.K.B. 752, it was held that a contract between the mother of an illegitimate child and another person for the transfer to that person of the rights and liabilities of the mother in respect of the child was invalid. I quote from the language of Stirling, L.J. at p. 389: The mother of an illegitimate child has by law imposed upon her obligations in respect of the child, and by reason of such obligations is vested by law with corresponding rights, one of which is the right prima facie to the custody and possession of the person of the child. That right is given to the mother, not for the benefit or gratification of the mother, still less as part of her property, but in order to enable her to discharge the duties which the law imposes on her in respect of the infant, and for its benefit. That being so, it is impossible that the plaintiff, who is the mother of the child, should divest herself of those rights in favor of another person.

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