Kourtney Kardashian: Paternity Scandal

As if the Kardashians don't have enough drama in their lives, just a few weeks ago, TMZ broke the story that male model Michael Girgenti has launched court proceedings against Kourtney Kardashian, claiming that he is the biological father of her eldest child, Mason. Kourtney, on the other hand, has vehemently maintained that Scott Disick is Mason's father.

In court documents filed August 8, 2013, Girgenti alleges that he and Kardashian met in August, 2008 while on a photo shoot and began a texting relationship shortly thereafter. According to Girgenti, in March 2009, Kourtney informed Girgenti that she and Disick were "on the outs" and that she wanted to "hang" out with him.

In the documents, Girgenti claims that the duo had a sexual encounter, which he believes resulted in Kourtney's pregnancy, as nine months later, Mason was born. Girgenti claims that he immediately contacted Kourtney, but was dismissed outright. Kourtney's lawyer has stated that the allegations are both "false and defamatory."

According to the court documents, Girgenti is seeking joint custody of Mason, as well as a DNA test for Kourtney, Scott, Mason, and himself. The hearing is scheduled for some time in September.

And the hits just keep on coming! This past week, Kourtney produced test results from an independent lab showing that Disick is in fact Mason's biological father. Girgenti is insisting the lab documentation is forged – he continues to seek a court-monitored DNA test.

So, what are Girgenti's chances? Could this court application go anywhere in Ontario?

Pursuant to section 4 of the Children's Law Reform Act (CLRA), "any person having an interest" may apply for a declaration that any male or female person is the father or mother of a child. Moreover, section 8 of the CLRA establishes a presumption of paternity in a number of enumerated circumstances. Unfortunately for Mr. Girgenti, he does not fall within any of the enumerated scenarios. Section 10, however, permits the court to grant leave to obtain blood tests in proceedings where the parentage of a child is in issue.

Interestingly, the court may draw an adverse inference from the refusal of a party to submit to blood tests after leave is given. Because Ontario's laws are distinct from California's, it is difficult to determine the impact of Kourtney's previously obtained DNA test.

Assuming, despite all evidence to the contrary, the Girgenti is in fact Mason's biological father, what are his rights? As the biological father, he would have access rights to Mason, provided such access is in Mason's best interests.

While biological parents have equal custodial rights when a child is born, the fact that Girgenti has not been involved in Mason's life over the past 3 years, and given the hostility that exists between Kardashian and Girgenti, it is highly improbably that Girgenti would be awarded joint custody. After all, a joint custody arrangement cannot work where the parents are unable to work together, at least for the sake of the child.

If it turns out Girgenti is Mason's father, however, a judge may award some access with the potential for less restrictive access rights in the future, provided it is in Mason's best interest.

After all, access is the right of the child, and it is unlikely a judge would inhibit Mason's ability to have a relationship with his biological father. Finally, if it is determined that Girgenti is Mason's father, he will have a corresponding obligation to begin paying child support.

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