Home / The Rix & Kay Blog / Same sex parenting
Janet Raeburn

Partner - East Sussex (Uckfield)

9th December 2019

The family unit can take different forms and the laws are complex, so knowing what your legal rights and responsibilities are for a child can be confusing. Janet Raeburn gives an overview of the legal situation relating to same sex parenting. It is important to take early advice on your particular circumstances.

Who are the legal parents?

Under the present law, a child can only have two legal parents. Often the legal parents are also the child’s biological parents, but this is not always the case. The date and manner in which a child is conceived is key, and determines who the child’s legal parents are.

Being somebody’s legal child can have serious implications in relation to who is financially responsible for you, and your ability to inherit assets left to a person’s ‘children’.

Children born after September 2009

Before 1 September 2009, a child’s legal parents will be the birth mother and the donor father if they are named on the birth certificate.

The rules are different for children born after 1 September 2009. The birth mother is the child’s legal mother (except in cases of surrogacy or adoption, which are not dealt with within this blog).
The child’s second legal parent depends on the manner in which a child was conceived, whether that be naturally or via artificial insemination:

  • Conceived naturally – The second legal parent of a child conceived naturally will be the biological father.
  • Conceived via artificial insemination – The spouse or civil partner of the birth mother at the time will be the second legal parent, if they consented to the process.

If the birth mother is not married or in a civil partnership, her partner can be the second legal parent. This is provided that the process took place at a licensed clinic in accordance with set regulations.

Two male parents can become legal parents by proceeding down the route of adoption or surrogacy.

Parental responsibility

It is important to note that those with Parental Responsibility (PR), is not necessarily limited to the legal parents, and there is no limit to the number of persons who have or can obtain PR.

For more information about parental responsibility or any other issues relating to parenting and children, please contact:

Janet Raeburn
Partner, Family
T. 01825 744482
E. janetraeburn@rixandkay.co.uk