Family Law Awards 2020
Shortlist announced - time to place your vote!
Court of Protection Practice 2020
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Latest articles
No right (as yet) to be married legally in a humanist ceremony: R (on the application of Harrison and others) v Secretary of State for Justice [2020] EWHC 2096 (Admin)
Mary Welstead, CAP Fellow, Harvard Law School, Visiting Professor in Family Law, University of BuckinghamIn July 2020, six humanist couples brought an application for judicial review on the...
Controlling and coercive behaviour is gender and colour blind but how are courts meeting the challenge to protect victims
Maryam Syed, 7BRExamining the most recent caselaw in both family and criminal law jurisdictions this article discusses the prominent and still newly emerging issue of controlling and coercive domestic...
Roma families face disadvantage in child protection proceedings
Mary Marvel, Law for LifeWe have all become familiar with the discussion about structural racism in the UK, thanks to the excellent work of the Black Lives Matter movement. But it is less recognised...
The ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ – obligations and scope for change
Helen Brander, Pump Court ChambersQuite unusually, two judgments of the High Court in 2020 have considered financial provision for adult children and when and how applications can be made. They come...
Emotional harm and interim removal: how psychological thinking can support practice
Dr Ben Laskey ClinPsyD, AFBPS, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, The Psychology PartnershipGeorge Butler, Barrister at Law, 42 Bedford Row ChambersThe family courts are full of cases involving...
View all articles

Amanda Melton: Custody Battle Between Three Parents

Sep 29, 2018, 21:29 PM
Slug : AmandaMelton23022012-632
Meta Title :
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : No
Prioritise In Trending Articles : No
Date : Feb 23, 2012, 08:41 AM
Article ID : 97905

Amanda MeltonThe Court of Appeal is shortly expected to give their judgment on the case concerning lesbian parents who seek to marginalise the relationship between their son and his natural father. The focus of their argument is that they wanted to bring up the child in a two parent family. In contemplation of that they sought to reach an agreement with a close male friend and former husband of one of them (albeit in what is described as a marriage of convenience). They entered into an arrangement whereby he would act as a donor but would then have no further role in the child’s life.

There perhaps lies the first problem. He was their friend. He was the former husband of one of them. He was bound to come into regular contact with a boy whom he knew to be his natural child. Was he really supposed to play no role in that child’s future but stand by and watch others make decisions in relation to his upbringing? Whilst the primary carers are to be praised for their obviously firm desire to bring their son up in a two parent family, their plan was surely doomed to failure on the choice of donor.

Is their approach reasonable? Interestingly, it seems their position is they do not seek to exclude the father completely. Indeed he has already been visiting the child for five hours each fortnight. Is it therefore reasonable to expect that having developed a bond the father should never seek the opportunity to increase or develop that relationship. The ethos behind the Children Act and what all courts try to achieve is of course “what is in the best interests of the child” – not the parents. Can it be fair that this little boy cannot develop a relationship with his father? Indeed it surely begs the question why should the boy be treated any differently to a child born to a heterosexual couple? When parents separate or a child is born to unmarried parents there is an expectation, save in exceptional circumstances, that the child should enjoy a relationship with his father. Should it be any different in this situation?

The principal carers seek to achieve a one home two parent environment for their child. That is no doubt well meant and indeed admirable. However, many relationships end in separation. A child so lovingly brought into a two parent family will find himself sharing a home between his mother and father and each with new partners – two homes; four parents! When approached in this way it seems the parents are unwittingly suggesting that because they are a same-sex couple they should enjoy a status which is not available to heterosexual couples. After all would a heterosexual couple stand any chance of successfully arguing that they entered into a contract prior to their child’s birth in which they agreed that on separation the other parent would have no contact? An interesting thought - but in my view doomed to failure.

Amanda Melton is a Partner and the Head of the Family Team at Matthew Arnold & Baldwin.

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.

Categories :
  • Articles
Tags :
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Load more comments
Comment by from