Bringing children into your family is an utterly rewarding yet thoroughly serious undertaking. Whether it's through IVF, surrogacy or adoption, the addition of a new family member or members, to guide, nurture and protect is seen by many as one of life's true gifts.
In the early days of a new arrival, or the first meeting with an adopted child, the joys and responsibilities of raising a child can be all consuming and it is important to consider the legal aspects of raising children in good time before that moment. This will enable you to put in place proper protection and paperwork which will provide a firm foundation from which your family can grow and thrive and which will protect you family if times are harder.
Some of the issues to consider include:
Will you have all the rights and responsibilities that you need to look after the child, from a legal perspective?
If you are married or in a civil partnership at the time your children are born (or adopted) then you will automatically have parental responsibility for them (all the rights and responsibilities that relate to the wellbeing of a child). In some situations parental responsibility must be acquired and one example might be where there is a surrogacy relationship, or where you were cohabiting at the time of birth. Whatever your situation, it is worth checking that you both have parental responsibility and to put steps in place to acquire it, if one of you does not have it.
Who would you trust to look after your children in the event that you die?
Guardians: you can appoint guardians to care for your children in the event of your death. This may need some consideration and discussion between you and your partner and members of your extended family and friends. It can always be reviewed over the years, but it is worth having the conversation sooner rather than later.
Do you have a Will?
Should the worst happen it will be important that your children are protected financially. Making a Will is a responsibility of all parents. You can find out information here
Links to other external sites
Stonewall: Parenting rights NHS: LGBT paths to parenthood New Family Social: LGBT+ & considering adoption or fostering?
First published 5 June 2019.