Dispute about the care and upbringing of a child

Disputes about the care and upbringing of a child can be wide-ranging and emotionally fraught. They can also include complex fertility and family law issues for modern families and those formed through assisted reproduction, which encompass disputes about:

  • The identity and legal status of a child, parent, co-parent, known donor or other individual (e.g. biological and legal parentage and identity).
  • A dispute arising from a direct-to-consumer DNA test (e.g. paternity dispute, dispute about DNA testing, rectification of birth certificates and management of relationships with previously unknown genetic relations).
  • A surrogacy dispute.
  • Acquisition and exercise of parental responsibility for a child.
  • Where and how often a child resides with a parent, co-parent or other individual.
  • Amount of time a child spends with a parent, co-parent, known donor or other individual.
  • A dispute about financial arrangements for a child.
  • A dispute about a specific issue (e.g. change of name, education or school, medical issue, relocation, travel, religious matter).

We have preeminent legal expertise in fertility, children and family law. We are at the forefront of law and policy for modern families and those formed through assisted reproduction, enabling us to deliver innovative and ground-breaking legal solutions in what remains a rapidly evolving national and international legal landscape.

If you require legal assistance or wish to discuss a dispute concerning the care and upbringing of a child contact us.

 +44 (0) 20 7965 8399

Leading cases

Louisa Ghevaert has dealt with numerous complex assisted reproduction disputes about the care and upbringing of a child, read more here.

Re X,Y and Z (Children: Parental Orders: Time Limit) [2022] EWHC 198 (Fam)an important legal ruling where the English High Court stepped in and granted parental orders for 3 surrogate born children following complex international conflicts of law between the US (California & Oregon), Denmark and the UK, extending the six-month statutory deadline for issue post birth and carefully navigating complex legal issues associated with the collapse of a US surrogacy agency, a pending criminal charge of assault against one of the intended parents and serious legal difficulties in Denmark where Danish authorities threatened to deport the children.

AB v CD, EF, GH & IL [2018] EWHC 1590 (Fam), representing an intended mother in international contested assisted reproduction and modern family law proceedings in the High Court concerning 2 surrogate born children. This case marks a legal first in the treatment of blended families in the UK following assisted reproduction, divorce, re-marriage, serious allegations of domestic violence and abuse as well as the legal status and identity of two surrogate born children, their biological, intended and social parents and arrangements for the children’s care and upbringing.

In the matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Case V) [2016] EWHC 2356 (Fam), obtaining a declaration of parentage in the High Court for a woman in a same-sex relationship for a child conceived through fertility treatment at a UK fertility clinic licensed by the HFEA.  The HFEA Consent Form WP was missing from the clinic file. The case for the first time gave guidance on the practice of making interim costs orders in favour of patients to fund litigation and access to justice following errors in the completion of consent forms at UK fertility clinics.

In JP v LP & Ors [2014] EWHC 595 (Fam), acting for the intended father in a high profile complex UK surrogacy dispute case following marriage breakdown and divorce. This case established for the first time a legal framework for cases where the legal criteria for a parental order cannot be met, including wardship, and featured in The Telegraph, BBC News and Mail Online (6 March 2014).

In Re C [2013] EWHC 2408 (Fam),obtaining a parental order to secure the legal parental status and care and upbringing of a child conceived through a Californian (USA) commercial surrogacy arrangement. This case redefines the English Court’s approach to the authorisation of commercial payments in view of the UK public policy restriction against commercial surrogacy.

In Re IJ (a Child) [2011] EWHC 921, obtaining a parental order to secure the parental status and care and upbringing of a surrogate born child who was born stateless and parentless in Ukraine. The case highlights the legal difficulties associated with foreign surrogacy and the importance of expert legal advice.

In Re L (a minor) [2010] EWHC 3146 (Fam), obtaining a parental order for British parents who conceived a child with a US surrogate mother (in Illinois, USA). The case marks a legal watershed ruling that the welfare of the child is decisive over the public policy ban on commercial surrogacy in the UK except in the clearest cases of abuse of public policy and featured in The Telegraph (8 December 2010).

In Re X and Y (foreign surrogacy) [2008] EWHC 3030 (Fam), being the first case in UK legal history to test the law for British parents conceiving through an international commercial surrogacy arrangement and which involved complex and groundbreaking legal issues in successfully securing the parental status and care and upbringing of surrogate born children in the Ukraine, featured in BioNews (January 2009).

News and Commentary

Click here to read more about our media and commentary work in relation to family and fertility law, policy and practice.

“Sperm Donor Dispute: Parental Responsibility, Child Arrangements Orders and Fragile X Syndrome” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog, 7 June 2022).

“International surrogacy law: existing conflicts unresolved” (BioNews, comment piece by Louisa Ghevaert, 14 March 2022).

Apple podcast on Speak From The Body with Avni Touch entitled “Fertility law for modern families with Louisa Ghevaert” (26 February 2020).

In the News

Father and toddler

Twitter updates

Follow Louisa on Twitter for latest industry updates

Read More

Our latest news

Read our news on fertility & modern family law

Read More

Our blog

Louisa discusses her opinion on different topics

Read More