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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

21 JUN 2010


(Family Division; Moylan J; 16 June 2010)

A lesbian couple, who were not civil partners, had a child together by way of artificial insemination on the basis of a joint application. Following their separation, the child remained with the mother and the mother's ex-partner applied for residence and contact. A shared residence order was made, under which the ex-partner acquired parental responsibility. The mother applied for financial relief from the ex-partner. At issue was the definition of a parent.

Held that the lesbian ex-partner was a parent in the social and psychological sense, but was not a parent in the legal sense. Those against whom orders could be made under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 were confined to those who had the legal status of parent. It is not a discretionary, welfare informed decision, but matter of status. Person who acquired parental responsibility did not thereby become a parent.


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