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Lesbian ruled not child's legal 'parent'

21 June 2010
Appeared in BioNews 563

The ex-partner of a lesbian cannot be forced to pay child maintenance for the couple's donor-conceived child because they never entered a civil partnership, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Moylan said the woman 'B' was the 'social and psychological' parent of the child, conceived by her former partner in 2000.

When the couple's relationship ended in 2007, 'B' won a shared residence order with the child and gained parental responsibility.

But this didn't mean 'B' was financially responsible for the child, Justice Moylan told the High Court in Leeds, because there is a difference between a 'legal' and 'natural' parent.

'This might appear a persuasive point save for the fact that the mere obtaining of parental responsibility is clearly not intended to make someone a legal parent when they would not otherwise be such', he said.

It was not the courts' responsibility to widen the definition of 'parent', he said.

'I have come to the clear conclusion that those against whom orders can be made... are confined to those who are a parent in the legal meaning of that word'.

'If I were to extend the definition to include anyone who has acted as a parent, I do not see how I could properly define the limits of such an extended definition in a way which would provide sufficient legal certainty'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Lesbian mother cannot be forced to pay maintenance
The Telegraph |  17 June 2010
Lesbian mother escapes child maintenance payments
Pink Paper |  18 June 2010
Ruling on child support for lesbian 'parent'
Yorkshire Post |  18 June 2010
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