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Family lawyer in Chichester news – Gay father wins Court of Appeal ruling

29th March 2012

Judges at the Court of Appeal ruled that the lesbian couple’s desire to establish a “nuclear family” could be construed as essentially selfish and “may later insufficiently weigh the welfare and development rights of the child”.

As such, ruled the judges, the father’s right to play a substantial role in the parenting of his child must not be overlooked or considered only an obligation of “dry legal contract”. Instead, it was said, the father was “seeking to offer [his son] a relationship of considerable value”.

In what could be a landmark ruling, Lord Justice Thorpe commented, “It is generally accepted that a child gains by having two parents. It does not follow from that that the addition of a third is necessarily disadvantageous.”

The Court of Appeal decision overturns an earlier ruling that the father could have only a “limited relationship” with the boy and the lesbian couple’s contention that they should be considered as “primary parents”.

Initially, the father had entered a “marriage of convenience” with the boy’s mother, partly in order to pacify the religious concerns of the biological mother’s family.

However, once the boy was born, the three adults began to dispute the level of access the father should have.

In comments that will come as no surprise to family lawyers in Chichester, Lady Justice Black conceded that such cases involving “alternative families” are “still new territory”. However, in further comments that are likely to be welcomed by family law practitioners, she said that such disputes should not be viewed as insoluble.

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