Being an LGBT parent brings with it all of the same issues and responsibilities of any parent, as well as a number of unique considerations. Getting the right legal advice can ensure that your interests and those of your children are protected at all times.
Whether you have children from a previous heterosexual relationship, are looking to adopt, or are considering surrogacy or sperm donation, there are various legal considerations you need to take into account.
Crisp & Co’s expert same sex parenting solicitors have been working with LGBT individuals and couples for many years. We can ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect your rights and your children’s best interests, proactively putting in place measures to prevent potential issues, as well as offering swift, efficient and cost-effective solutions if a problem does arise.
Talk to one of our same sex parenting solicitors today on 020 3281 7889 or use the enquiry form above for a quick reply.
Our same sex parenting service
Our LGBT parenting solicitors offer a full range of services for gay parents and same sex couples.
Gay parental rights
Your sexuality shouldn’t impact your rights as a parent, however, some gay parents do unfortunately encounter issues in this area. Our LGBT family law experts can support you with any problems related to your parental rights, helping to find a fair solution.
Gay parental responsibility
One of the key issues to consider as a gay parent is establishing parental responsibility. This means having the legal right to make decisions about a child’s care, upbringing and other important decisions about their life.
A birth mother will normally automatically have parental responsibility from the moment her child is born. A birth mother’s partner will usually have parental responsibility if they were married or in a civil partnership at the time of the birth or if they are listed on the birth certificate.
If you adopt a child, you will automatically be granted parental responsibility and the birth parents will lose parental responsibility.
If you are a step-parent of a child and want to establish parental responsibility, you can do so with the consent of the people who already have it using a parental responsibility agreement form available from your local court. If one of the people with parental responsibility does not agree, you may be able to obtain parental responsibility with a court order.
Our solicitors can help you to get parental responsibility for any children you have a duty of care towards, making sure your wishes and their best interests are protected.
Both single gay people and same sex couples can adopt in the UK and should face no additional restrictions compared to heterosexual people. However, there are a number of legal issues involved in adoption and it is important to make sure they are handled correctly to protect your rights and the best interests of the child.
Our LGBT solicitors have helped many individuals and couples adopt over the years and know all of the legal processes involved and the likely issues that can arise. We can help to make sure your adoption goes smoothly and that there are no future issues which could disrupt your new family.
Surrogacy for same sex couples
Many gay men choose surrogacy as a way to bring a child into the world using their own sperm. This process is perfectly legal, but subject to certain restrictions. You cannot pay someone to act as a surrogate for you and any agreement you reach is not legally binding i.e. the surrogate could refuse to give up the child once it is born.
The surrogate will need to sign a parental order after they give birth, transferring their rights to you, at which point they will cease to legally be the child’s mother.
Our solicitors can help you to navigate the legalities of surrogacy, making sure you stay within the law and that your rights are legally established and protected.
Egg and sperm donation for same sex couples
The birth mother of a child will automatically be their legal parent, even when using a donated egg. If a lesbian couple use an egg or sperm donation to conceive a child, the legal status of the non-birthing partner and the sperm donor will depend on whether or not the couple are married or in a civil partnership, and whether the baby was conceived in a UK licensed fertility clinic.
Where a couple are married or in a civil partnership, they will both automatically have parental responsibility over a baby one of them gives birth to using a sperm or egg donation. The donor will have no legal parenthood status.
If a couple are not married or in a civil partnership, the birth mother will automatically have parental responsibility, but the non-birthing partner will not and will have to apply to adopt the child or otherwise gain parental responsibility. If the baby was conceived in a UK licensed fertility clinic, the donor will have no parental rights, however, if the baby was conceived outside of such a clinic, the donor may have parental rights.
Our solicitors can ensure that you fully understand all of the legal implications of the various options for conceiving a child using a donated egg or sperm and that you take any appropriate actions to protect your rights and the best interests of the child.
LGBT co-parenting arrangements
Co-parenting involves two or more people who are not in a relationship agreeing to conceive and raise a child together. This could be a single gay man and lesbian woman, or might involve a gay or lesbian couple and a single other person acting as a sperm donor or surrogate.
A co-parenting arrangement can formalise the agreement over how the child will be raised, ensuring everyone’s rights and the child’s best interest are maintained. The legalities around co-parenting arrangements can be complex and will depend on a number of factors, so it is essential to consult a solicitor so you understand all of the legal implications and can take the required actions.
In the UK, a child can only legally have two parents, so where there are more than two people involved in the arrangement, it will usually be the biological parents who are legally the parents. However, more than two people can have parental responsibility, so you will need to decide how you want to handle this when making the arrangement.
Our expert LGBT family law solicitors can guide you through the entire co-parenting process, helping you to understand your options and agree the best path to achieve your goals, establish the rights of everyone involved and protect the child’s best interests.
When any issues arise involving your children, such as deciding child care arrangements in the event of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, it is highly desirable to find a swift and harmonious resolution wherever possible.
Family mediation offers a method of family dispute resolution that involves both parties sitting down with a trained, neutral mediator who will encourage you to discuss your issues, concerns and goals and help you work to agree a mutually acceptable resolution.
Family mediation is often the fastest, most cost-effective and least stressful way to resolve any disputes involving your children and can make it much easier to maintain a positive relationship going forwards. This is especially important where you will need to continue co-parenting your child or children, as they will likely benefit considerably from their parents having a harmonious, supportive relationship.
Our expertise in LGBT parenting
Crisp & Co’s family law solicitors have many years of experience helping same sex couples deal with issues surrounding LGBT parenthood. We understand how to ensure your rights and the best interests of your children are protected at all times.
A number of solicitors who specialise in gay parenting are trained in mediation and collaborative law and are members of Resolution, an organisation committed to non-confrontational methods of dispute resolution. This means we can help you pursue a harmonious approach to resolving any disputes related to your children wherever possible, which is almost always in your and your children’s best interests.
However, our LGBT family lawyers also have extensive experience supporting clients in court, so where this is the best or only option, we can ensure the best representation for your interests and those of your children.
Get in touch with our expert same sex parenting solicitors
To speak to one of our LGBT parenting experts about any of the legal aspects of gay parenting, call us today on 020 3281 7889 or use the enquiry form below for a swift response.