Parental Responsibility of Female Same-Sex Parents

Parental Responsibility of Female Same-Sex Parents

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What is Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility (PR) means “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property.”

People with PR can have a say in the important decisions in the child’s life, including where a child should live, their education and health, their name, religion and whether they can travel or live abroad.

Birth Mother

The child’s birth mother is automatically the child’s legal parent and has PR. Therefore, if you are the parent carrying the child you will automatically have PR at birth. However, the identity of the other parent relies on how the child was conceived.

The ‘Other’ Parent

If the child was conceived through sperm donation, the second legal parent will be chosen on the paperwork at the clinic at the time of the sperm donation.

If the child was conceived through sexual intercourse or through artificial insemination, the other legal parent will be the biological father. However, if the birth mother is married or in a civil partnership at the time of conception, and the child was conceived through artificial insemination, the husband, wife or civil partner will be the child’s other legal parent, even if they are not the biological parent.

The only way you can lose PR and legal parentage is if your child is adopted or through a parental order.

The Civil Partner or Wife of the Birth Mother

For children conceived after 6 April 2009 through artificial insemination the civil partner/wife will also be the child’s legal parent along with the birth mother and therefore, both parents’ names should be registered on the birth certificate. However, if the child is conceived through sexual intercourse, then you do not automatically have any PR.

For children conceived before 6 April 2009, you do not automatically have PR.

What Are My Options?

If you are married to the birth mother, then you can obtain PR via a Parental Agreement which is a fairly simple process requiring the birth father to sign his agreement to you having PR.

Alternatively, if the biological father does not agree or is unknown, you may apply for a Parental Order through the Court.

If you are not married to the birth mother, then you should apply to the family court for a child arrangements order stating that the child lives with you and/or your partner. If the Court grants you a ‘lives with’ Order, then you automatically have PR for the child.

Alternatively, you could also possibly adopt the child which would then make you the child’s legal parent and therefore give you parental responsibility.

How Can We Help?

If you are worried or need some guidance on Parenting Agreements, Parental Orders or Child Arrangement Orders then please do get in touch with our Family Law experts on 01895 207819 or alternatively e-mail reena.vadera@ibblaw.co.uk.