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LGBTQ community and family law matters

View profile for Caitlin McBurnie
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As we once again celebrate Pride month, we look into the continued uncertainty of where members of the LGBTQ community stand in relation to family law matters.

It remains an ongoing theme that second parents of the same sex are unsure where they stand in relation to obtaining parental responsibility in respect of a child. Despite being referred to as their parent, the law has further requirements.

Parental Responsibility is defined by Section 3 of the Children Act 1989 as ‘all duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child’. As the biological mother, parental responsibility is granted automatically.  Parental Responsibility can only be terminated by a Court Order or by death of the individual who has parental responsibility or the death of the child. 

A Father can be granted parental responsibility by being listed on the birth certificate or by way of a Court Order called a Declaration of Parentage. 

In respect of a second female parent, it unfortunately is not as straight forward as listing them on the birth certificate. If the second female parent is in a civil partnership or marriage with the biological mother at the time of the fertility treatment or at any point between the fertility treatment and the child’s birth and has consented to the fertility procedure, they will automatically be granted parental responsibility. 

If the parties are in a relationship but are not married or in a civil partnership, upon the child’s birth, the non-biological party will not have parental responsibility unless prior to the insemination, the biological mother agrees under the ‘agreed female parenthood conditions’. 

If the parties are in agreement with parental responsibility being granted to the second parent, a parental responsibility agreement can be filled in which will then need to be filed with the local Family Court. A copy of the child’s birth certificate and proof of ID for both parties will also be required. 

If the parties cannot agree on the ‘second parent’ having parental responsibility, an Order can be applied for using a C1 application which costs £232. If the child was born via a surrogate, the ‘parents’ will need to apply for a Parental Order using a C51 form. 

We are pleased that as a firm we are able to offer advice and services in relation to this issue and provide further support to the LGBTQ community. For more information and help, please get in touch.