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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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Hi there,

Don't know if I am posting in the right place here, just wanted to ask you a quick question if thats ok??

Baby is due on 21st May, we used a known donor and are still regularly in touch with him and our plans are that he will be known as 'dad' and will see lo on a regular basis. However we plan to have DP apply for parental responsibility and to adopt LO as soon as this is possible, this has all been agreed and discussed with P (our donor). My question is, will having P's name on her birth certificate as her father affect us when it comes to the adoption procedure???? P is ready and willing to sign any forms etc he has to. I do really want to have P's name on her birth cert as he is her dad but i absolutely do not want to jeopardise DP's chance of adopting her.

Thanks, hope this all makes sense,

Emma
 

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Hi Emma,

I'm sure Nat will have more to say on this but this week we went in to the adoption services place in Birmingham to start the ball rolling with Rae's adoption of Ember. We asked about how having a known donor would affect things and they said that things should be pretty easy for us as our donors name isn't on the birth certificate and we have a contract with him stating he agrees to the adoption. They may not even need to speak to him about it. The social worked we spoke to indicated that things get a lot more complex in cases where the father/donor is on the birth certificate.

From the literature they sent us initially it seems that (in Birmingham at least) they try to discourage step-parent adoption if the child has a meaningful relationship with the biological father (or mother in those cases where its that way round) because once the adoption has gone through that parent has permanently and absolutely lost any legal parental role. For us, this isn't a problem as the contact we have with the donor isn't enough to be considered 'meaningful' but it sounds as though this won't be the case for you. From what I can tell, as long as your donor is OK with losing his legal status as a parent then it should be all right, but he and possibly his family if they're also going to have contact with the child will need to be interviewed and give consent to it going ahead. Bear in mind that you won't be able to start the adoption process until your child is at least 3, maybe 6 months old by which time he'll have had a chance to really develop a relationship with her and you end up back at that big trust place that we known donor users know so well.

Even though we're not having much contact with our donor we, like you, also wanted some form of documentation for Ember regarding her origins and we've worked out she'll have one piece of paper for each person involved in her creation and upbringing: the donor contract for the donor, the birth certificate for me and the adoption certificate for Rae. :)

I hope this helps. Good luck with it!

Gina. x
 

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Thanks for this Gina, these are my worries/concerns exactly, it is a fine line we tread isn't it?? Betwen what is right for our little ones and what is right for us, I guess that is what parenting is alll abouy anyway. I think I am going to have another long chat with P and go forward from there. If i can ask you, what did you put on the birth cert??? Do you just put unknown???

Your documents arrangement is fab and I might go with that myself....

I hope your adoption process runs smoothly, glad you are all doing well, I have bl**dy heartburn again!!

Emma x
 

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Hi Emma

If you decided not to put your donor on the birth certificate (which I guess is the best way of ensuring that your DP shouldn't have problems adopting), he could still be given parental responsibility. So although he wouldn't be your child's 'legal parent' he'd still have a recognised role in her upbringing... and a piece of paper with his name on!

Just a thought...

Nickyx
 

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Hi Emma,

Sorry to hear abut the heartburn. I remember it well...

We had no choice to put anything on the birth certificate. If you're not married to the father then the only way he can get on the birth certificate is to attend with you when you register the birth. If he isn't with you, the father section is just left blank.

I don't know if you already have a contract with your donor but if you don't you could write one that states he won't object to any adoption and he understands the legal implications of that but he will have regular contact.

Good luck with it!

Gina. x
 

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Thanks Gina,

We do have a contract!! Thanks for that advice re the birth cert, that makes things a lot easier, I would feel really uncomfortable and look really shifty having to discuss the issue with a very scary looking registrar!!

Nickster, thanks for that, he actually doesn't want PR, just to see her, give her cuddles and teach her how to play football!!!

Emma X
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hiya lovely ladies

The issue with known donors and adoption is rather untested at the moment - we're waiting for cases to go through around the UK to confirm how the courts will deal with it.  However, the best current advice is as follows:

- If the donor is named on the birth certificate (and as Gina says he has to attend the registration for you to do that) then he will have parental responsibility which means that he has to consent to any adoption process.  Though the court has the power to override his refusal to consent if they want to, it is unlikely if the father wants active involvement they will do that.  They are far more likely to give the non-birth mother parental responsibility, but to refuse an adoption order and say that it is in the child's best interests to retain a legal father.

- If the donor is not named on the birth certificate, he has no PR which means no formal say in the process.  BUT the court is still likely to want to hear from him in some way since an adoption order will take away his rights entirely, and that would prevent him applying for parental responsibility in the future.  The court will want to know that he does not intend to do this (either through an interview or through a donor agreement if you have one).

Ultimately, every situation involving a known donor is unique and the court must act in the child's best interests which creates an enormous degree of discretion. 

If you want to secure an adoption to give non-birth mum full rights as a parent I always advise signing a donor agreement (so you have the donor's written consent to the adoption in advance) and not naming the donor on the birth certificate.  That doesn't mean that you can't tell your child who the father is, or that you can't give the father any access (though minimising this until the adoption order is granted is probably advisable).

I hope that helps.

Natalie
 

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Hi,

I wonder if you can help Nat? Our son is now 4 and a half months old and my partner has been granted parental responsibility. We were wondering what additional parental rights she would have if she adopted him? (We will more than likely be having another child, with me as the bio-mum again, and would intend for Julie to adopt them both together if we did decide to do this.)

thanks in advance,

Rach
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A question I am often asked!

Parental responsibility gives Julie day-to-day authority to act as a parent until your son is 18 - so she can talk to schools and doctors etc.  It is a statement of the current position, which means it can be taken away by the court if circumstances change (e.g. if you split up).  In contrast adoption is permanent, and makes Julie your son's mother for the rest of his life.

In practical terms, the fact that your son is not legally Julie's adopted child could be important in various ways (and this list is not exhaustive).  If you just have parental responsibility, he has no right of inheritance from her if you both die (unless he is very carefully benefited in Julie's will).  He would not benefit from things like pension schemes, family trusts, grandparents' wills etc which pay out to Julie's 'children'.  Adoption is also better recognised around the world if you ever choose to live or travel abroad. 

Ultimately with adoption, you get an absolute guarantee that Julie would have all the same recognition as you do as your son's mother.  Parental responsibility gives her most of the day to day authority she needs, but it ultimate does not make her your son's mother.

I hope that clarifies.  It sounds sensible to wait until no.2 arrives and then adopt both together (that's what we did!).  If you'd like pointing in the right direction with the adoption process, I run a fixed fee pre-adoption consultation at which I explain what you need to do and help you fill in all the paperwork.  Good luck!

Natalie
 

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Nat, thanks for all your advice about these issues, I am in a bit of a faff now as we want DP to be the legal mother for all the above reasons but also recognise that we want LO to have contact with her dad, it is hard to do what you feel is best for LO. We will have to cross all these bridges as we come to them.

thanks for your help

Emma
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have sympathy - co-parenting situations just really don't fit into the law at all.  It seems everything is set up for having two parents and the concept of having three (or even four) is just impossible for our legal system.
 

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Tell me about it...! ;D
 

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I hope you don't mind me joining but me and my partner are just trying to sort the legal parent issues out too.

2 friends of ours have given us advice but having read this thread, I'm not sure it's correct. They have the following:
1. a civil partnership
2. the non biological mother has the parental responsibility order
3. They have wills. The biological mother's will states that if her civil partner is not living then X should be guardian of her children.

They seem to think that the civil partnership and parental responsiblity order mean that should the bilogical mother die, the non bioi mother would automatically be guardian and that's why the will is worded as it is - it implies that if the biological mother civil partner (the non bio mum) is alive then she will be guardian anyway.

We were going to have the same done but now I'm not sure it covers what we need.

The most important thing to us is that if anything should happen to me (biological mum), our son and any future children would definitely stay with my partner.

Does anyone know if adoption is the only way of guaranteeing this of if a combination of civil partnership, parental responsibility order and will can cover it.

Thanks for any info

Terri
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi Terri - and welcome to the thread

The advice you have is roughly right, but hopefully this clarifies.  For the best protection you need to do three things:

1.  Make wills as soon as you are pregnant (or before) - an appropriately worded guardianship clause will confer parental responsibility on the non birth mother if the birth mother dies.  This is the only way of guaranteeing this before the birth (so protects against a death in childbirth or shortly after - hopefully unlikely!).

2.  Get parental responsibility once your baby is born.  This gives the non birth mother the right to act as a parent (talk to doctors, teachers etc) assuming the birth mum is still alive  (the guardianship appointment in the will doesn't do this because it only kicks in if she has died). 

3.  Adopt.  This gives the non birth mum full legal parenthood and you can apply once your baby is six months old.  It means she will be regarded as mother for all legal purposes (including inheritance) for the whole of your child's life, and not just until they are 18.

Each piece of the puzzle achieves something slightly different, elevating non birth mum's status increasingly as you go.  Doing your wills alone is sufficient to protect her right to look after your child if birth mum dies, but it doesn't give her status as a parent assuming you are both still alive, which is what the other two steps are designed to do.

If you want to arrange a proper consultation and I can help you get all this sorted, just let me know.

Best wishes.

Natalie
 

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Nat

Thank you for that reply. I really like it when someone answers a question so fully, logically and succinctly - brilliant. I feel I'm fully informed now. I just need to speak to my partner to see when we do each stage. I think we need to get a civil partnership before we do the wills so that we dont have to make any amendments to the wills after. And then the wills should fulfull our immediate needs and we can look into the parental responsiblility order and adoption at a later date.

Thanks again. I'll be in touch if we need help with the wills

Terri
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No problem at all.  You can do your wills before registering if you want to - they won't be revoked as long as they have a special clause in them saying they are made in 'contemplation of' registering as civil partners.
 

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While we're on the subject ....

Can you tell me how different the situation is in Scotland?

Also (as I'm sure that it is different, and I really need to be making a will - and should probably provide for the fact that we are planning to get pregnant in it) can you recommend anyone in Glasgow? I have found one private client lawyer in Edinburgh (Donald Reid) which I guess is doable if we can't find someone closer, but I can't believe there isn't anyone closer ...

Thanks for any tips!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi Motos

The situation's very different in Scotland (both with the wills and with adoption - new Scottish adoption laws are due to come into force later this year, and will allow same sex adoption for the first time).

I have a great contact in Edinburgh with experience helping same sex couples and a very welcoming approach.  If you email me, I'll give you her contact details if you like.  I'm afraid I don't know anyone in Glasgow.

Natalie
[email protected]
 
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