Parental Responsibility Essay

2403 Words Jul 9th, 2013 10 Pages
“Unlike the mother, the unmarried father has no 'automatic' parental responsibility.”

To what extent is this an accurate summary of the law on parental responsibility? Consider whether compulsory joint birth registration in the case of unmarried fathers would be a helpful reform.

The Children’s Act defines parental responsibility as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”. The law does not tell us exactly what this means but in a broad sense it is fairly clear what is meant by this. ‘It is much easier to define a ‘normal’ family – a husband and wife and the children of their marriage – than it is to define the powers and
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How do we determine the difference between the legal parent and the genetic parent? There are many different situations in which could complicate the status of legal and genetic parent. ‘Mother and unmarried partner produced a child together with the use of a donor sperm, the partner would not be the genetic parent but the sperm donor would, the partner of the mother would be the legal parent but have no parental responsibility. The mother separates from the partner and marries another man and acquires a joint residence order with the new partner. The father is the legal parent, the husband is neither the legal or genetic parent but shares parental responsibility with the mother. There could not be a more difficult situation bringing together all of the problems of genetic and legal parents and the problems of parental responsibility. So how do these problems fit in with lesbian couples or donor children?

‘Public awareness of lesbian mother families dates back to the 1970’s when previously marries lesbian mothers began to fight for custody of their children when they divorced’. There are still two parents and a child which fits into the nuclear family. There could still be the same problems with obtaining parental responsibility that unmarried fathers would depending on the situation in which they have had the child.

The case of a lesbian couple (M and P) who used one of the partner’s brother’s sperm (F) as donor

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