If you’re in a civil partnership you may be thinking about having children. But what are the legal implications of the options available to you?
You will have probably worked through the pros and cons of the different methods available; timeframes, cost, biological links and so on, which will naturally have been big factors in coming to a decision.
The legal consequences
Another factor that also needs to be considered is what the legal consequences are of your chosen approach – do you have to have a genetic link to be a legal parent? Will your civil partner have equal parental rights as you? There is no single answer as the legal implications depend on the circumstances.
The most widely discussed method is donor insemination. That could be through a clinic or home insemination using sperm from a known donor. If you are in a civil partnership and the insemination is artificial then you and your partner will be the legal parents of the child, regardless of who is the birth mother.
You may prefer to have a relationship with the donor so that the three (or four if he also has a partner) of you can co-parent and raise the child together. If that is an option you are considering, you should consider a co-parenting agreement so that everyone is aware of the boundaries and there are no nasty surprises after the child is born.
Another approach would be for you to adopt a child or children. If you are matched to a child and you successfully obtain an adoption order, you and your partner would be the legal parents of the child.
You would both have equal rights in relation to the child and the rights of the biological parents would be extinguished upon the making of the adoption order.
An option that often features in the media is surrogacy, which is often a viable option for both same sex and heterosexual couples. If surrogacy is your favoured option then, after the birth of your child, you would need to apply to the court for a parental order before you and your partner would have legal status as the child’s parents.
Once a parental order has been made you would then both have equal rights in relation to the child.
Legal advice understandably may not be top of your priorities when you are working out when and how to start a family. But it really is important to make sure you and your family are legally protected and understand the legal consequences and requirements of the different options available to you.
The Lester Aldridge family team deal with these and other issues on a regular basis and are frequently instructed by clients regarding divorce proceedings.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of separation, arrangements for your children or wish to protect your assets prior to getting married, contact the family team on 01202 786161 or email [email protected]