Perspectives and outcomes when modern families fall into dispute

When families fall into dispute, conflict and change can be harmful if it is not well managed. High conflict following relationship breakdown is detrimental to parents, children and families. It is vital that the physical and emotional needs of children are met.

When disputes arise, blended families and those formed through assisted conception, surrogacy, egg and sperm donation, known donation and co-parenting arrangements represent more legally complex and difficult cases to resolve. They raise wide-ranging issues which extend beyond the day to day welfare of the child and include:

  • understanding and managing genetic ties
  • securing positive family narratives in the short, medium and longer term
  • nurturing positive self-identity for children born following assisted conception, gamete donation, surrogacy, posthumous conception and co-parenting arrangements
  • understanding and promoting the significance of diverse figures in children's lives including: half-siblings, step-siblings, step-parents, grandparents, co-parents and some known donors

Case law featuring families formed through assisted reproduction include a number of factors which influence judicial outcomes, including:

  • balancing family structures against biological connection
  • attitudes and conduct towards those instrumental in building families through assisted conception including surrogates and known donors
  • the importance of identifying and managing the legal status and role of individuals in children's lives
  • the quality of parenting provided with reference to the individual child
  • weighing up the intention of the parties at the outset of the family building exercise

Modern families take many forms including solo parents, same-sex couples, co-habiting couples, co-parenting families, married couples, blended families and divorced and separated families. Flexible family building options, complex law, ever improving fertility treatment and medical technologies and changes in people's personal lives all influence outcomes for children, parents and families.

Specialist fertility, parenting and family law advice can help identify and manage legal issues and risks and navigate potential and unexpected changes in life and relationships.

If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail or find out more about UK fertility, family  and parenting law contact Louisa Ghevaert by email: Louisa.ghevaert@michelmores.com or by telephone +44 (0)207 7886382.