How To Get A Parental Order When The Law Needs Reform4th Nov 2016
This is the nightmare scenario facing biological parents C & D after they fell out with surrogate mother E and her husband F.
C & D went to the High Court to secure the vital Parental Order they need to assume legal responsibility for baby twins A & B.
Result? Case adjourned due to a legal impasse. Stalemate.
Simply because surrogate parents E & F refused C & D their consent for a Parental Order.
Even though babies A & B live with biological parents C & D. Even though surrogates E & F have no active involvement in the children’s lives.
Biological parents C & D had fulfilled every criterion needed to gain a Parental Order – except one. They didn’t have the necessary consent from surrogates E & F.
Why? E felt aggrieved that difficulties in her pregnancy had not been recognised sufficiently (according to an “extraordinarily perceptive” report prepared for the court).
This is a challenging case. Our sympathies go not just to the various protagonists but also to the Judge Mrs Justice Theis.
She faced the difficult task of having to apply a law which quite obviously is not sufficient to deal with scenarios such as this.
Adjournment was the sensible option because it gives the parties an opportunity to reach an agreement out of court, although only the court can grant the parental order.
A case like this highlights the uncertainties that can sometimes arise with surrogacy.
If a relationship breaks down between a surrogate and the intended parents then mediation may be a good option to try and prevent a case such as this from happening.
In an ideal world, this case should never have arisen. UK law should allow for a binding legal agreement to be drawn up before the birth of the children.
Sadly, it does not.
Legal reform is said to be pending. It cannot come too soon.
In the meantime, you will need expert advice from specialist surrogacy law solicitors to navigate the existing pitfalls in the system.
Solicitors capable of providing innovative legal solutions when the courts are hamstrung by outdated surrogacy and fertility legislation.
For more information on applying for Parental Orders, contact Associate Solicitor and Mediator Richard Perrins, Head of the Family Law Department at Coles Miller, 01202 355698.