The law in relation to a mother’s rights in relation to her child is currently very clear. The woman who carries the child in pregnancy and gives birth to the child is always the legal mother of the child.
The law does recognise however that there can be circumstances where more than one woman may wish to be recognised as the mother of a child. For example, cases of assisted reproduction (including IVF) and surrogacy. In this context, there are ways for a woman other than the child’s birth mother to acquire legal status as the mother of the child. The law in this area is extremely complex and we recommend that if you are planning on having a child by assisted reproduction, IVF or surrogacy and are in any way uncertain of your rights, you seek expert legal advice. Our Family Law Solicitors will be happy to assist you. In some cases, we may be able to act on legal aid funding.
In other circumstances, there may be women involved in caring for the child who do not wish to be legally recognised as the mother of the child but do wish to have parental rights and responsibilities for the child. This could include family members who are heavily involved in caring for a child or a guardian who cares for a child when the birth mother is unable to do so.
In these circumstances, broadly speaking, there are two ways for such women to acquire parental rights and responsibilities for a child:
- By entering into a formal legal agreement with the child’s mother or the child’s guardian.
- By obtaining Court orders, granting parental rights and responsibilities.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 provides that where a person has never had parental rights and responsibilities in respect of a child but claims an interest, that person is entitled to apply to the Court for orders in relation to the child. Such orders could include an order granting parental rights and responsibilities, an order regulating where the child is to live or orders regulating contact between the child and the person seeking the order. It is important to remember that the paramount concern for the Court in such cases is focused on the best interests of the child.
Contact our Family Lawyers Glasgow, Coatbridge, Airdrie, Shetland
Whatever your circumstances, if you are seeking to be recognised as the legal mother of a child or are seeking parental rights and responsibilities, we can help. In many cases, we can act on legal aid funding. Contact our Family Law Solicitors today for the friendly, professional legal advice you need.