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For some same-sex couples, deciding when is the best time to start a family can be difficult, and there is the added complexity for those in a same-sex relationship of how to start a same-sex family. Spratt Endicott Solicitors provide a taster of some of the factors to consider.
There are numerous routes to starting a family within a same-sex relationship, including adoption, surrogacy, sperm donation and coparenting. The decision on which route to take ultimately lies with personal preference/circumstances. Those looking to start a same-sex family will need to consider the following factors, including some aspects of same-sex family law.
There are legal differences in parental status
It is important that when starting your family, a same-sex couple contemplates how you each spouse will be recognised as a legal parent and have parental responsibility for a child. If choosing to use a sperm donor as the method used to conceive, consider whether or not the donor is known to you, and whether there are one or two legal parents at the time of conception as this will impact upon legal status. For example, if the sperm donor is anonymous then that donor will not have any legal status for the child, however in circumstances where the sperm donor is someone you know this will not necessarily be the position. This area of law is complex and fast moving. It is crucial to understand exactly who and how you want to be legally recognised as a child’s legal parent before conception.
If you have a surrogacy arrangement, then a Court Order – called a Parental Order – must be applied for once the child is born in order to end the legal status of the surrogate and ensure the intended parents become the child’s legal parents.
The finances and logistics of child care are often a concern for parents to be. Same-sex family spouses may need to consider their career; including considering leave, flexible working requests and time off for appointments.
If entering into a co-parenting arrangement (for example a lesbian couple who conceived via a (gay) friend donating his sperm, and wish to raise the child together with the three as parents) careful discussion will need to take place about how each parent views their role in raising their child together. It may be helpful to draw up an agreement reflecting your intentions and plans. This could, for example, involve looking at the amount of time the child shall spend with each of you. Decisions about school choices, health care and religion may also need to be considered.
Protecting your family’s future is a key consideration and financial provision may need to be made for the child through health insurance, life insurance, writing a will, or by appointing a Guardian for example.
Gemma Davison (named as one of The Legal 500 UK 2017) from Spratt Endicott Solicitors provided this information. For more information on the information and services offered by Spratt Endicott Solicitors for LGBT families, visit se-law.co.uk.