Are three parents better than two?

Year Published: 2012

A recent Court of Appeal decision has confirmed that a child will clearly gain by having two parents and the addition of a third parent is not necessarily a disadvantage.

In the case of A –V- B & C a lesbian couple wished to have a child and a gentleman, named “A” offered himself as a sperm donor. It was always intended that any child should be born into the household of B & C and that they would be the primary carers. The relationship between A and his child would be secondary.

In the County Court a joint residence order was made in favour of B & C and A had contact with his son once a fortnight but there was no foreseeable progression to staying contact.

The father appealed and the Court found that the father should not be classed as a “secondary parent”.

The decision is a landmark decision for children born into “alternative families”. The primary concern of the Court is the welfare of a child not the interests of the adults, however well considered and intentioned they may be. A pre-birth agreement setting out any contact arrangements or preventing a parent from having contact with a child, cannot prevent the Court from making decisions as to the welfare of any child.

The fact that the Court of Appeal disapproved of the term “secondary parent” is an important development for all fathers in this kind of situation.

Many fathers in particular are denied contact with their children, whether there be only one other parent involved or in this case, two. Children have a right to see all of their parents but so often that right is denied The starting point in all cases is that there should be contact between a child and it’s parents, the child’s welfare being the Court’s paramount consideration.

If you require any information regarding contact with a child, please contact our Family Law team on 0161 475 7676.

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