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(Court of Appeal 2006, Thorpe, Laws and Hallett LJJ; 6 April 2006)  FLR (forthcoming)
Following the separation of a lesbian couple, one of whom had conceived children by artificial insemination during the relationship, the biological mother was identified as the primary carer. Eventually, the court made a shared residence order to enable the mother's former lesbian partner, the non-biological parent, to achieve parental responsibility together with an order prohibiting the mother from moving any significant distance from the former partner. The mother deliberately flouted that order, secretly setting up home in Cornwall, arranging schooling in advance and removing the children from their home city without any prior warning. The non-biological parent applied for orders under s 33 of the Family Law Act 1993 to discover the children's whereabouts, and, once that had been established, sought to be named as primary carer. The judge granted residence to the former partner to prevent a future of litigation and emotional damage to the children.
Dismissing the appeal of the biological mother, blood ties were no longer deemed an advantage when both parents had cared for children. The child's views as to who their psychological parents were should be taken into account when deciding disputes between same sex couples. No general proposition generated by earlier authorities could legitimately be extended to such cases today.
The Red Book is the acknowledged authority on practice and procedure