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  • Writer's pictureCourt Help Limited

How can same Sex / Lesbian Couples get Parental Responsibility?

In England, same-sex unmarried partners can both have parental responsibility for a child, but the method of acquiring this responsibility depends on several factors, including how the child was conceived and the legal steps taken after the child's birth. Here are the main ways both partners can have parental responsibility:

As a same-sex/lesbian couple can both parents get Parental Responsibility under the law in England?

Same-Sex Parents

Civil Partners If same-sex partners are in a civil partnership at the time of the treatment (such as donor insemination or fertility treatment), both will automatically have parental responsibility.

Non-Civil Partners For same-sex couples who are not civil partners, the second parent can obtain parental responsibility in the following ways:

By applying for parental responsibility if there is an existing parental agreement. The parental agreement as avaibale on 06 June 2024 on teh UK Gov website link is :

Filling Out the Parental Agreement with guidance as available on the gov website:

Use black ink to complete the Agreement, as it will be photocopied. Fill out a separate form for each child if the other parent is to have parental responsibility for multiple children. Do not sign the Agreement yet.

After Filling Out the Agreement

Take the completed Agreement to your local family court office or to the Central Family Court (address provided below). A justice of the peace, a justices’ clerk, an assistant to a justices' clerk, or an authorized court official will witness your signature and sign the witness certificate. Note that a solicitor cannot witness your signature.

For the Mother

When making the declaration, you need to prove you are the child’s mother. Take the child's full birth certificate to the court. You will also need to bring identification that includes a photograph and signature (such as a photo card, official pass, or passport). The child’s birth certificate alone is not sufficient proof of your identity.

For the Other Parent

You will need to bring identification that includes a photograph and signature (such as a photocard, official pass, or passport).

By becoming a civil partner of the other parent and then either making a parental responsibility agreement or jointly registering the birth.

It must be noted that:

Biological Parent:

The biological mother automatically has parental responsibility. If the child was conceived through assisted reproduction (e.g., IVF), the non-biological parent can acquire parental responsibility if certain conditions are met.

Named on Birth Certificate:

If the non-biological parent is named on the birth certificate (for births registered after December 1, 2003), they automatically have parental responsibility.

Parental Responsibility Agreement between Same Sex parents:

The biological parent and the non-biological parent can enter into a parental responsibility agreement. This is a formal agreement made using a specific form and must be signed and witnessed. But there are conditions that apply that need tp be met.

Court Order:

The non-biological parent can apply to the court for a parental responsibility order. The court will consider various factors to determine if granting parental responsibility is in the child's best interests.

Adoption of a child by same sex parents:

This is a situation where the child is not biologically naturally born to either of the parents. Both partners can adopt the child, which grants them both parental responsibility.

Civil Partnership or Marriage:

If the couple enters into a civil partnership or marriage after the birth of the child, the non-biological partner can acquire parental responsibility, subject to certain conditions being met and formalities being completed.

This is NOT legal advise and shuld not be considered as legal advise.


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