Modern day families take many different forms and are created in a variety of ways (e.g. natural conception, assisted conception, adoption, surrogacy, donor conception or re-structured after relationship breakdown).  

Modern families include: solo mothers and fathers, same-sex couples, co-parents, separated parents (after divorce, civil partnership dissolution and relationship breakdown), adoption, surrogacy and families with grandparent involvement.

Legal status

Law governing modern family life is diverse and complex, particularly if it is created through assisted conception or restructured following relationship breakdown.  You need to understand the law from the outset so you can effectively "plan for parenthood" and react effectively if life does not go to plan.  This provides peace of mind and legal protection for you and your family and ensures you can manage the wider financial, practical and emotional issues.

Increasing numbers of families involve adults who may have no legal status for children they spend time with or care for (e.g. grandparents, co-parents, new partners, step-parents, intended parents through surrogacy).  Legal rights and status can be conferred in a variety of ways, including by agreement or court order in the event of a dispute.

To learn more click on the links below.

Legal parenthood

Parental responsibility

Child arrangements order 

Specific issue order

Prohibited steps order

Financial provision for a child 

Guardianship (including special guardianship) 

Adoption 

Donor conception  

Co-parenting 

Known donation 

Parental order after surrogacy

Children dispute 

Family dispute 

How we can help you

We provide supportive confidential expert legal advice on:

  • arrangements for care and upbringing of a child (pre-conception, at birth and throughout childhood)
  • acquisition and protection of legal parenthood (e.g. to protect non birth lesbian mothers, co-parents, solo mothers and fathers, same-sex couples, intended parents through surrogacy)
  • acquisition and operation of parental responsibility
  • managing arrangements for children following relationship breakdown
  • financial provision for a child
  • advice on an application for a parental order following surrogacy
  • advice on an application for an adoption order
  • content and preparation of a co-parenting agreement
  • content and preparation of a known donor agreement
  • preparation of "specialist family proof" wills

To find out more about our legal services click here.

Find out more about children and family law in the UK in our resource hub.

Gain an understanding of wider issues in the development of and current issues surrounding children and family law in the UK and internationally. Click here to visit our Media and Publications section. 

Arrange a meeting with Louisa Ghevaert, Partner and Head of the Fertility and Parenting Team at Michelmores: email louisa.ghevaert@michelmores.com or telephone +44(0)207 7886382.

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