Parenting and children

If you are a parent (are thinking about becoming a parent) or care for a child, there are many legal issues which could affect you and your family, particularly if your family has an alternative structure or was created through assisted conception.

You can legally become a parent or care for a child in the UK in a variety of different ways, including:

  • Natural conception with a partner or spouse
  • Surrogacy
  • Donor conception (conception with donor eggs/sperm)
  • Private adoption (eg adopting a step-child)
  • Inter-country adoption (adopting a child born overseas)
  • Adopting a child that is looked after by a local authority
  • Becoming a foster carer

Please read on for more information about legal parenthood, other legal status and rights for children (including parental responsibility, child arrangements, specific issue and prohibited steps orders and adoption), what to do if a dispute arises over the care and upbringing of your child and issues surrounding financial provision for children.

Other useful parenting and children websites

BBC Parenting – BBC website with a wide range of information about parenting and children issues,

British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) – a UK charity providing help with adoption and fostering,

Stonewall – Leading UK gay, lesbian and bisexual charity which provides help with many issues including parenting and children

Donor Conception Network – UK charity providing help and support to donor conceived families and people,

Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (previously the CSA) – government organisation which enforces child maintenance awards against parents,

How I can help

I provide bespoke, cutting edge legal advice, support and representation in court for parents and others in alternative family structures, families created through assisted conception and those with complex international links and multi-national identities.

I have litigated some of the most important landmark fertility and parenting law cases in the UK, including representing the parents in X&Y (foreign surrogacy) 2008, Re L (a minor) 2010, Re IJ (a Child) 2011, Re C 2013 and JP v LP & Ors 2014. I have over 15 years of experience of handling complex children and family disputes and I have pioneered the practice of fertility and parenting law in the UK.

Whatever your circumstances, whether you are a parent, an intended parent, a step-parent, a social parent, a grandparent, a surrogate, a known donor or a co-parent, I can provide:

  • Expert legal advice and representation to acquire legal status or rights for a child (eg legal parenthood, parental responsibility, child arrangements, specific issue,  prohibited steps or private adoption)
  • Expert legal advice and representation if a dispute arises concerning the care and upbringing of a child (including court proceedings, specialist negotiation, round-table discussions)
  • Expert legal advice with other family law issues