Legal parenthood

A child can only ever have two legal parents under English law (although additional adults can acquire legal status or rights for a child, eg parental responsibility or a child arrangements order).

Legal parenthood for a child denotes:

  • Inheritance rights – giving your child an automatic right of inheritance from you
  • Financial responsibility for a child
  • Citizenship and nationality – enabling the conferral of British citizenship upon a child (except in certain prescribed situations)

Legal parenthood creates a lifelong legal connection with a child.  Legal parenthood is different from parental responsibility and it is possible to hold one without the other or both in law.

Legal parenthood can become a complex legal issue for alternative structure families and families created through assisted conception, as law in the UK can override biology:

  • A solo mother conceiving with a known donor may not have sole legal parenthood for her child (and could vest unwanted legal status in her known donor)
  • A surrogate mother and her husband will be a surrogate baby’s legal parents at birth to the exclusion of the intended parents (pending the grant of a parental order)
  • A non birth lesbian mother may or may not have legal parenthood for her and her partner’s child
  • A biological co-parent may or may not have legal parenthood for their child

How I can help

I can provide expert, supportive and accessible legal assistance to include:

  • Advice on acquisition of legal parenthood for a child in the UK, which is especially important if you are undergoing assisted conception and you have complex personal circumstances or want to conceive with a known donor
  • Advice on acquisition of legal parenthood for a child in the UK, which is especially important if you are undergoing assisted conception and you have complex personal circumstances or want to conceive with a known donor
  • Advice and preparation of a donor agreement (to clarify the legal position of you and your known donor)
  • Advice and preparation of a co-parenting agreement (to clarify the legal position of you and your co-parent/s)
  • Advice and representation for you in a parental order application following surrogacy (to confer legal parenthood on intended parents and extinguish the legal status of surrogate parents)
  • Advice and representation for  you in a private adoption application (eg if you are a step-parent or a non birth lesbian mother)
  • Advice and representation for you if there is a dispute surrounding the legal parentage and responsibility for your child

Contact me for more information and to discuss your personal situation in more detail by email louisa.ghevaert@michelmores.com or by telephone +44 (0)207 7886382.  You can also learn more about fertility law, children and parenting, family law and disputes at Michelmores’ specialist website www.michelmores.com/what-we-do/services/fertility-law.