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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

14 SEP 2012

Not straight forward: parental disputes within same-sex families

Noel Arnold:

The article examines disputes which can arise for same-sex persons who decide to have children. The reader is taken through a quick tour of the approaches same-sex couples or persons can use to have children and then onto the stage of planning and creating. The key phases are outlined; during which emotions and feelings can change dramatically. The article then considers why agreements are important and what the court might make of such intentions. How intentions and agreements factor into the court's thinking is considered by drawing on the leading cases.  Finally, Noel considers the court's approach to same-sex parental disputes and in particular the notion of autonomy of the nuclear family, proposing that there has been some shift in the court's thinking about that concept. Ultimately, Noel suggest that perhaps the court is gradually coming to a conclusion that such disputes are extremely difficult. Finally the article looks at how the court's approach may impact on the future generation of intended same-sex parents wishing to conceive children. Noel considers the possible impact on the example of a man wishing to be an involved father but not resident parent and a female couple who ideally wish for a man to be involved but such that they do not feel their autonomy as the nuclear family is compromised by that involvement.

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