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A year in reflection of legal services for the LGBTQ community

View profile for Sarah White
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As we celebrate Pride month, our Solicitor Sarah White, based in our Cambridge office, reflects upon the growing need for legal services for the LGBTQ community, and the issues that she has advised upon over the last year:

I am delighted to continue building our LGBTQ department, and to offer legal services to the LGBTQ community. Despite a growing need for such services, now that we see an increase in more modern family units, my clients tell me that finding specialist lawyers to deal with these specific type of cases remain difficult to find.

Recently, I have been involved providing a webcast interview for Bourn Hall, in relation to legal issues arising from IVF treatment for lesbian couples, as well as assisting Anglia Ruskin University with advising a local Trust. I remain passionate about advising couples about the legal pitfalls that can arise should same sex couples decide to begin a family, particularly where there is not a marriage or civil partnership, and the impact this can have upon parental responsibility for the intended child.

It is easy to become swept up in the excitement of starting the family without looking ahead as to what may happen if the relationship breaks down, or if one parent dies. It is also apparent that couples are running into difficulties with so-called ‘sperm donor apps’, when the sperm donor then wishes to become more involved following the birth of the child.

One issue that does appear clear is that whilst the courts are still relatively new to dealing with the issues that can arise, cases involving same-sex couples are becoming more commonplace every year and consequently, Judges are becoming more familiar with determining these types of cases.

I have dealt with a number of cases over the last year involving issues in relation to parental responsibility, and how this may become more problematic when parents do not realise the legal implications when starting a new family. For example, I have dealt with cases to include where the biological mother has died, and her unmarried partner was left without parental responsibility to care for their child. This required an urgent application to court to remedy this and safeguard the child’s placement with her intended other legal parent.

I’ve also noticed an increase in surrogacy enquiries, and this is clearly something that is becoming more common in terms of options for families both in the LGBT community and indeed for those trying to conceive naturally but facing fertility difficulties. Surrogacy remains a relatively specific area of legal practice, but I’m pleased to confirm that Family Law Group are able to offer advice and representation in relation to related Parental Order applications. We are also receiving increased enquiries in relation to Adoption and Parental Responsibility agreements/orders.

It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to offer specialist and unique legal services to members of the LGBTQ community. We had the opportunity of receiving training at the Cambridge office last year from The Encompass Network, and we continue to strive to offer a safe space without judgement for our clients who may need our specialist services.

Should you wish to contact Sarah White for any advice or assistance in relation to family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact her on 01223316666 or email sarah.white@familylawgroup.co.uk.

 

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