THE families of gay and lesbian families are increasingly entering the family law minefield. As technology and the ingenuity of people who wish to be parents develop so too do the number of gay and lesbian families appearing in the Family Courts.

All matters relating to children are conducted on the basis that the best interests of the child are the ‘paramount consideration’.

 While we all use the word ‘parent’, it is often an inaccurate description of the actual status under the Family Law Act of the legal position of a party.

Surrogacy, IVF an informal conception can impact on who is a legal parent, as against an effective or emotional parent, and according how the Family Courts will deal with parenting presumptions under the Family Law Act.

While there is a presumption that it is in the best interest of a child to have a relationship with both parents, if you are not in fact a parent there are other hurdles to overcome.

The Court is seeing an increasing number of cases between donors and mothers (who will often be the legal parents of a child born to such an arrangement pursuant to the Family Law Act.)

These cases are complex and require specialist legal advice to negotiate through the system

The uncertainty surrounding the issue of parenthood can also impact on Passports and Citizenship and in some jurisdictions even inheritance.

In some jurisdictions commercial surrogacy is in fact a criminal offence which has the potential to seriously impact parties to the surrogacy.

There are a number of high profile cases which have made the news at different times and given rise to perceptions within the community as to what might be expected in a parenting dispute.

Given the paramountcy principle and the different factors which will be present in different families, it is unwise to pay too much attention to these cases and better to seek advice from a family lawyer who specialises in family issues within the gay and lesbian community.

It is important before setting out to establish a family to seek expert legal advice on how the law impacts on gay and lesbian families and what you can do to ensure the rights of you and your family are protected going in, or your rights or the rights of your children protected after a separation.

Reach out to Tiyce & Lawyers for advice on family law 115 Crown Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 P: 02 9211 9976 | info@tiyce.com | www.tiyce.com

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