Parental Orders after Surrogacy
Securing the legal status of the intended parents
A Parental Order is an order that secures the legal status of the intended parents of a child born of a surrogate mother. A Parental Order transfers parental responsibility from the surrogate mother to the intended parents. A Parental Order can only be applied for once the child is born.
Why do you need a Parental Order?
When a child is born to a surrogate mother, under English law the woman who gives birth to the child is the child’s legal mother. If that woman has a husband, then the husband will be recognised as the child’s legal father. The intended mother is not recognised as having any legal relationship with the child. The intended father will only be recognised as having a legal relationship with the child if he has a biological link to that child and the surrogate mother is not married.
Even if the intended parents are named on a surrogate child’s birth certificate that was issued abroad, in the UK, in the absence of a Parental Order the intended parents will not be recognised as the legal parents of the child. It is therefore extremely important that the intended parents of a surrogate child apply to the Court for a Parental Order.
Who do we represent?
We have a large base of national and international clients. We represent clients who are not only UK based but also those clients who live abroad but wish to use the English legal system to obtain Court Orders to fit in with their family circumstances.
Who can apply for a Parental Order?
You can apply for a Parental Order with a partner or on your own. If you are applying with someone else, then you must be one of the following:
- Civil partners; or
- Living as partners.
What is the criteria for applying for a Parental Order?
In order to apply for a Parental Order, one of you must be genetically related to the child i.e. one of you must be the egg or sperm donor. If you are applying as an individual, you must be genetically related to the child i.e. you must be the egg or sperm donor.
You must make your application within 6 months of the child’s birth, although in certain exceptional circumstances, the Court will grant Parental Orders outside that strict six month limit. You must also:
- Live with the child;
- Reside permanently in either the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man;
- Be at least 18 years old.
When will the Court make a Parental Order?
The Court must be satisfied that the surrogate mother and her husband or civil partner, if there is one, have freely consented to the making of the Parental Order without any conditions. The surrogate mother and any husband or civil partner must provide their consent at least six weeks after the birth of the child.
The Court must also be satisfied that there has been no payment made to the surrogate mother or any husband other than reasonable expenses. Commercial surrogacy arrangements are not allowed in the UK.
When considering whether to make a Parental Order the paramount consideration for the Court will be the child’s welfare throughout the child’s life. A Parental Order reporter will be appointed by the Court. The Parental Order reporter will meet with the intended parents along with the surrogate mother and any husband and produce a report for the Court with a recommendation as to whether a Parental Order should be made.
What happens to the child’s birth certificate?
Upon the making of a Parental Order, a birth certificate can be re-issued to the child with the name of the child’s parents as set out on the Parental Order.
What is the effect of a Parental Order?
The effect of the Order will be to remove parental responsibility permanently from the surrogate mother and her husband, if any.
If you are planning to have a child through a surrogacy arrangement, it is very important that you plan ahead and take early legal advice. This is particularly important if you are planning to use a surrogate mother who lives abroad. Any Orders made by a Court abroad transferring the legal parentage of a child to you and your partner will not be recognised in the UK. Regardless of any Orders obtained abroad, under English law the surrogate mother will still be treated as your child’s legal mother. As mentioned above, if the surrogate mother is married, then her husband will be treated as your child’s father.
You will also need to think very carefully about the immigration status of your child particularly if both parents do not have British citizenship. Even if you both have British nationality it is important to take specialist advice to ensure that your child will be given permission to enter the UK. Our family lawyers can put you in touch with our immigration team who can advise you on any immigration aspects of your case.
We offer you the utmost discretion. We can help you with your preparation and planning for your surrogate child and deal with any legal pitfalls you might encounter in advance. We can make your application for a Parental Order to the Court for you and guide you through the process. Please take advantage of our free telephone enquiry. We will explain to you how we can help. You will find our family lawyers approachable and knowledgeable.
Memberships and Accreditations
Our family lawyers are members of the national family justice organisation, Resolution, which promotes a constructive and cost-effective approach to family law issues — and that’s why we also have divorce and family law solicitors who are qualified as collaborative practitioners so that we can offer you Collaborative Family Law.
This allows us to work together with other collaboratively trained divorce and family law solicitors to find solutions for your family without Court intervention.
We also have experts who are Law Society Accredited and on the Law Society’s Family Law Advanced Panel. Where family law disputes cannot be resolved through negotiation and agreement, we take a firm and proactive approach to court proceedings. It is this experience and outlook that makes us stand out from the crowd.
If you would like to find out more about how our team of specialist family and divorce lawyers based in London can support you then please get in touch.
You can book a complimentary 30 minutes consultation session with our friendly and knowledgeable Head of Family Law, Saika Alam. In the session, Saika will learn more about the challenges that you are facing and talk through how we can help.
We understand that it is so important that you get to speak to your divorce and family lawyer before you make any kind of commitment to use them. You need to get to know your divorce and family lawyer as much as we need to get to know you. That is why we do not make a charge for your initial consultation with us.
Saika Alam Head of Family Law
+44 (0) 20 7851 0110
Saika Alam has provided me with invaluable advice in relation to matrimonial matters during the last few years. I have valued her patient, client-centred approach and ability to remain calm in the face of adversity. I would highly recommend her.
Saika Alam is the only person I would ever go to. She has always advised me in the most professional and honest way possible. She works in a way that makes you feel comfortable and you feel you are in good hands. I have referred so many people to her and will continue to do so.
I highly recommend Saika as she is professional, approachable and does a fantastic job achieving realistic positive results.