Civil Partnership Divorce


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Same Sex Couples and Parenthood


Parental responsibility is defined as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has”. In practice this means that someone with parental responsibility has a right to take part in major decisions in the child’s life, such as schooling and whether the child should move abroad etc.


Following changes introduced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, same-sex couples can now become equal legal parents of children they conceive together or through a surrogate. If the relationship breaks down however, it can become complex:

• Same sex parents of children conceived after 6 April 2009 have automatic recognition as a parent whether they are in a civil partnership or not
• The non-birth mother in a same sex relationship will be treated in most cases as the children’s second legal parent if the child was conceived after 6 April 2009
• Regarding a child’s second legal parent - where both parties in a civil partnership consent to artificial conception and also conception outside of a civil partnership at a clinic, abroad or at home in the UK
• Non civil partnered same sex couples who conceive outside the UK or outside of a clinic may not qualify for automatic parenthood and may have to resort to adoption or a residence order to secure parental responsibility for their offspring.

Whilst biology is an important factor in such cases it is not the deciding factor. An increasing number of adults wish to become involved in a surrogacy, donor conception or other far more complex arrangements, e.g. where parties who are not civil partners choose to co-parent, such as a single woman and her best friend, male or female.


If you are considering a surrogacy arrangement, the conception of a child with a donor, you are a donor or are living with somebody who intends to conceive, you should seek independent advice as to what protection is required to help secure your own future finances and the welfare of your child. Contact one of our specialist family lawyers today for expert legal advice.


Equally, if you are going through a UK same sex divorce [or civil partnership dissolution to give it its correct legal name] and need specialist legal advice on how the law will treat your children, contact our specialists today.

• call us on 0800 1404544 or
•  use the contact form below:

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Civil Partnership Solicitor – UK Solicitors specialising in preparing Pre-Partnership Agreements for gay and lesbian couples
Bonallack & Bishop Solicitors (76483) – authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority



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