By Constance Ngai LLB

A same-sex ex-partner could obtain parental responsibility under the circumstances set out in the Children Act 1989 and spend time with her children by reaching an agreement with the birth mother or by applying a child arrangements order.

Case study

The client was in a same-sex relationship for 6 years; they did not enter into a civil partnership. Her ex-partner was impregnated successfully through IVF (In vitro fertilisation) and gave birth to their son in 2020. The client and her ex-partner are jointly registered on their son’s birth certificate. Their son lived with both, and the client became the main caregiver while her ex-partner was at work. The parties separated when their son was 14 months old, they maintained contact regarding meeting arrangements. It was civil in the beginning but after a heated argument between them about their romantic relationship, the ex-partner has stopped the client from seeing her son.

The client attended a MIAM and invited her ex to attend mediation, but she refused. The client then filed a C100 application for a child arrangements order.

Relevant provisions of the Law

Under the Children Act 1989 section 4ZA(1), that parent shall acquire parental responsibility if–

(a) she becomes registered as a parent of the child under any of the enactments specified in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of section 10(1B) and of section 10A(1B) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953;

(b) she and the child’s mother make an agreement providing for her to have parental responsibility for the child; or

(c) the court, on her application, orders that she shall have parental responsibility for the child.

The client’s situation satisfies the circumstance in section 10(1B)(a), whereas the birth mother and the client are registered as the child’s parents on the child’s birth certificate. Therefore, the client has parental responsibility and can apply for a C100 child arrangements order to spend time with her son.


The law allows same-sex parents to obtain parental responsibility under certain situations. If the parent wishes to spend time with their children, they are encouraged to attend a mediation with another parent to reach an agreement but otherwise, they may apply for a child arrangements order.

Written by Constance Ngai, Legal Assistant at Brady Harvey Legal. She holds an LLB Degree from University of Warwick.

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