Tag: lgbt

We are Family: Home Insemination & Parental Rights

December 23, 2020, By Slater Heelis

Starting a family is an issue which many people consider during their lifetime. For some, it may happen very easily. For others, much more planning is needed and it may involve a medical procedure.

For many in the LGBT+ community, careful consideration must be given to the different options available to them – not least because of the legal implications. Using a licensed clinic would seem to be the safest option all round but it is costly and therefore not an option for some. Thus, intra-cervical insemination / home insemination may be the only way to have that much-wanted child.

You can find more information about ICI treatment and the different methods of fertility treatment on the LGBT Mummies Tribe website here.

It is essential that you are aware of the legal implications when proceeding with artificial insemination outside of a licensed clinic. Whilst the birth mother or parent will always be considered the legal parent of the child, the situation for their partner is far from straightforward.

My Partner and I are Married/in a Civil Partnership

Providing you have inseminated artificially and your spouse / civil partner consented to you being inseminated, your spouse / civil partner will be the child’s legal parent. If it is your husband, he will be the legal father; and if it is your wife / civil partner they will be the legal second parent.

It is imperative that if you are married or in a civil partnership at the time you conceive, your spouse/civil partner consents to the insemination and the insemination is undertaken artificially and not through sexual intercourse.

If you conceive through sexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse / civil partner, the biological father will be deemed to be the legal parent. In such circumstances, in order for your spouse / civil partner to be the legal parent, the biological father would have to consent to your spouse / civil partner adopting your child and thus agree to no longer being the child’s legal parent.

My Partner and I are not Married nor in a Civil Partnership

This is a little more complicated. Even if your partner consents to your insemination, if you are not married nor in a civil partnership at the time you conceive, the sperm donor will be deemed to be the child’s legal father – unless you became pregnant as a result of fertility treatment at a licensed clinic and you, and your partner completed the correct forms. In such circumstances your partner will be deemed the child’s legal parent. However, away from the licensed clinic, you would have to go through the adoption process for your partner to become the second legal parent.

Acquiring second legal parent status

If you are not married nor in a civil partnership at the time you conceive by artificial insemination and conception does not take place in a licensed clinic, your partner can acquire second legal parent status by obtaining an adoption order. The adoption order, once made, defines who the child’s legal parents are and grants your partner parental responsibility alongside you, which gives them the right to be consulted upon key decisions in your child’s life such as education, medical treatment etc.

It can be a lengthy process which would start with your partner notifying your local authority that they wish to adopt. This must be done at least 3 months before applying to the court for an adoption order.

The child must have lived with you both for at least 6 months (so your child cannot be adopted by your partner immediately upon birth) before applying for an adoption order. These time-frames should be borne in mind when seeking to adopt.

A social worker will carry out an adoption assessment and will provide a report to the court detailing their recommendations to assist the judge in making a final decision. Once granted, your partner will be your child’s legal parent with you and the rights of the donor will be extinguished. Your child will be issued with an adoption certificate naming you and your partner as their parents. This replaces the child’s birth certificate.

For more information on the adoption process, you may find this page on the government’s website helpful.

Another option is to obtain parental responsibility either by agreement (both biological parents would need to consent) or through a court order.  However, obtaining parental responsibility for a child does not extinguish any rights of the donor but it would give your partner the rights and responsibilities to make day-to-day decisions for the child.

Donor Agreement

In all circumstances, outside of a licensed clinic, we would advise that a written donor agreement is entered into by you, your partner and the sperm donor. Although these agreements are not legally binding, they can be used as evidence in court if a dispute arose in the future.

A judge will consider the agreement in order to assess the intentions of the parties and determine what is considered to be in the best interests of the child. The agreement should clearly set out the donor’s involvement (or lack of) with the child and, crucially, ensures that all parties are in agreement from the outset.

How can we help?

If you would like to find out more about the legal implications of conceiving through home insemination, or if you have a dispute regarding parental responsibility, our Family law team are on hand to help.

Call us on 0161 969 3131, or fill in our contact form and we will be in touch.

Our new Partnership with LGBT Mummies Tribe

November 2, 2020, By
lgbt mummies tribe partnership

We are extremely excited to announce our newly formed partnership with LBGT Mummies Tribe. This collaboration will help educate mothers and people in the LGBT+ community on their journey to parenthood on a range of legal issues, or in respect of their family, including advice about surrogacy and fertility treatment, employment rights, family matters and much more.

This collaboration comes as we celebrate our status as Corporate Partner of the LGBT Foundation. We have also recently become the preferred legal contact for Switchboard, which operates nationally.

 About LGBT Mummies Tribe

LGBT Mummies Tribe provides guidance where it was previously difficult for people in the community to find information about parenthood and starting a family.

Its purpose is to ‘Educate, Share, & Celebrate’ LGBT+ women & people worldwide on the path to motherhood and parenthood. They work tirelessly to inspire LGBT+ women and people on their quest to parenthood, whilst working to normalise their families in the media and to create a more inclusive future for their children.

Alongside its aim to empower and resource the community, LGBT Mummies Tribe is passionate about making long-term change for same-sex female families. It is currently in talks with the government, NHS and other governing bodies to bring policy change and support to ensure equality and inclusivity to LGBT+ parents and their children through the health system and associated services.

Guidance and support for LGBT+ families

LGBT Mummies Tribe act as a central point of support and a safe haven. They provide invaluable information, advice and knowledge on the available routes to starting a family through their website and social channels. Their services span everything from advising on fertility clinics and banks, educational resources, support groups and services to information on charities, and LGBT+ brands.

Whether members are thinking of starting a family or have children already by fertility treatment, surrogacy, adoption or fostering, as a single parent, co-parent or a step-parent, all LGBT+ mothers and parents are invited to join the Tribe and explore its extensive resources.

Our team here at Slater Heelis can advise families on the legal aspects of their chosen route to parenthood. We ensure that all parties have a full understanding of their rights and help to steer the sometimes bumpy road of parenthood and families.

Stay Connected

We will be running Q&A’s, info sessions and providing legal support for members of LGBT Mummies Tribe over the coming months. Most of this activity will take place on Instagram. Be sure to check out the pages at @the_lgbt_mummies_tribe, visit the website, or follow them on Facebook @thelgbtmummiestribex.

LGBT History Month: Supporting Diversity in Legal Careers

February 17, 2020, By
LGBT diversity

We are proud supporters of diversity in the legal profession. This is evident through the people we employ, the causes we support, and the services we provide. As it is LGBT History Month, this is a great opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that are happening to support diversity across the legal profession.

LGBT History Month gives us a chance to reflect on what we, our colleagues and employers, and our entire profession, can do to create a landscape of equality and diversity for all. By remembering what people went through to get to the stage we are at now, we can think about how we change the future.

Making History

This month, we have seen LGBT history being made as the first legal same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland took place.

The first openly gay judge, Sir Terence Etherton, was sworn in as Lord Justice of Appeal in 2008. Since then, the LGBT community and its supporters have worked hard to encourage more diversity within the legal sector.

The Law Society LGBT+ Lawyer’s Division group on LinkedIn is a great hub for support and guidance. It also hosts events throughout the year to encourage engagement across the community and the wider profession.

In this blog, we take a look at what is currently happening to nurture and promote diversity in the legal sphere. This covers not only LGBT+ rights, but those of disabled and ethnic minority legal professionals, too.

Diversity Access Scheme

The Diversity Access Scheme is a long-standing initiative. It offers diversity scholarships for LPC fees, professional mentoring and work experience in careers in law.

Circumstances under which people may be able to apply for this funding are broad. These cover gender, sexual orientation, disabilities and health conditions and ethnicity. Applications open February 17th, 2020.

The Legally Disabled Project

A report from Cardiff Business School found that:

  • 60% of solicitors and paralegals experienced ill-treatment and discrimination in the workplace
  • 80% of the above believed it was related to disability
  • 54% disabled solicitors/ paralegals thought career prospects inferior to non-disabled colleagues
  • 40% never or only sometimes tell their employer or prospective employer they’re disabled

If you are experiencing discrimination or ill-treatment at work due to a disability, you can find out more about what to do on the Legally Disabled site.

Regional Diversity & Inclusion Forums

The Law Society’s Regional Diversity & Inclusion Forums are held quarterly to discuss concerns and best practice in the particular area of discussion. To make them accessible to a broad audience, they are held in different locations around England and Wales.

For more information on the upcoming events and how to get involved, visit the site.

Bringing Diversity and Equality to the Legal Profession

The Slater Heelis family are strong advocates of diversity. We do not just pay lip service to it but have representatives on The Law Society’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Resolution (family law) Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

We actively get involved to promote change and support equal opportunities. We have a great relationship with the LGBT Foundation in Manchester, where we run regular clinics.

Slater Heelis provides family law services for LGBT clients and offer employment support for discrimination at work.

We are a friendly and inclusive bunch. Join the conversation and help us to create more diversity in the legal profession.