A slightly weird question

There\’s not any importance to this: it\’s just something I\’m curious about.

Are children of a civil partnership legitimate?

OK, obviously, this isn\’t important as we don\’t attach much importance , if any at all, to that \”legitimate\” part these days.

And given that civil partnerships are, by definition, among same sex couples in the UK then it\’s doubly not important.

Except, of course, some same sex couples do indeed have children. Using surrogates perhaps for one set, sperm donation or IVF for the other set.

And are such children thus defined as legitimate according to however it is that the law defines a child as legitimate?

To take this to an extreme. Take one of the titles that can be inherited through the female line. There\’s a few Scottish I think. If the female heir to such a title had a civil partnership, and within that had a child through a sperm donation, would that child be considered legitimate and inherit that title?

Or to take it even further: if the civil partner had the child (thus there is no genetic connection) would that child inherit the title?

Or a male line title. I think there are one or two such who are in civil partnerships. If they, through a surrogate, had a child would that child then inherit the title? And would it be different dependent upon whose sperm was used?

Yes, I do realise this isn\’t important. And it\’s got nothing at all to do with whether gay marriage should be allowed or not (and indeed, all of the same questions would apply to such). I\’m just interested to know that\’s all.

Another way of asking this is did the parliamentary draughtsmen think through all the implications of that civil partnership law?

20 thoughts on “A slightly weird question”

  1. “Another way of asking this is did the parliamentary draughtsmen think through all the implications of that civil partnership law? ”
    Did they of any law?

  2. In the case of a lesbian couple who have a sperm donation – can the child inherit from her non-birth parent. And vice-versa, does that woman have any rights o the child if the birth mother dies?

  3. Reminds me of the story of the wife of some Scots Earl or other.
    Marrying off her brood, she encountered some reluctance, the family being notoriously nuts.
    But she was able to provide reassurance that none of her children were actually her husband’s.

  4. In the case of a lesbian couple who have a sperm donation – can the child inherit from her non-birth parent. And vice-versa, does that woman have any rights o the child if the birth mother dies?

    Yes and yes …

  5. the law of intestacy could be interesting – when it talks of children of the whole and half blood, for example.

  6. The definition of a bastard is a child born out of wedlock, which means at the time they were born the parents were not married.

    Parents means biological mother and biological father.

    A married woman fertilised by the sperm (hiwever this happens) of a man other than her husband, gives birth to a bastard, unless of course she divorces her husband and marries the biological father of her child before its birth.

    The whole point of marriage is property rights. Who ‘owns’ the child, who owns the property in the marriage, who can inherit.

    Marriage specifically disallowed a child to inherit from a man married to its mother, if the man was not the biological father.

    In the case of same sex couples who have a child using the DNA of one via a surrogate, I believe it is common for the non-biological partner to adopt the child. If the child has no DNA from either party, then they hae to adopt to make it ‘theirs’ and give it inheritance rights.

    I believe that also happens in cases of remarriage for hetero couples if there is a wish to secure inheritance rights, particularly if there are children from another marriage.

    If a woman or a man has an inheritable title, their biological offspring would inherit the title however fertilisation took place.

    Whether married to someone or not, a non-biologically connected child could not inherit the title, unless the person with the title adopted that child, and assuming there were no biological children with precedence.

  7. Under the previous Scots law a child born as a bastard to two people who were free to marry at the time was legitimised when they married i.e. was unbastardised.

  8. Here, it must be officialy adopted by the title carrying parent, for the bastard to obtain the right to carry tiltle.

    As to property rights…. no bloody CLUE. Civil law.

  9. Except in the case of hereditary titles a Will will cope in the UK for inheritance; in France etc, there could be a big problem, but one could usually avoid this by an inter vivos gifts which would work if the family were reasonable and might even if they were not.

  10. “Richard // Feb 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    John B, but there is a presumption of legitimacy to a child born to a married woman”
    Very true. I don’t think they check at all if a husband is living with his wife. I don’t think there is anything to stop a separated woman claiming that her children are her husbands.

    Disclaimer for the easily confused.
    I said “I think” because I believe this
    could be true. If people say words like “I think” or “might” it doesn’t mean that they are saying this is 100% true in all cases.
    They are just saying this is possible.

  11. I caught the tail end of a discussion on the radio today. In Belgium, France and Switzerland there are a few dozen children who are “natives” but not entitled to passports. Surrogate mother in e.g. the Ukraine then the adoptive parents split up.

    The divorces of women who are IVF mothers are sometimes pretty nasty too. The real dad argues that the birth (but not DNA) mum has no rights to look after the child…

    A modern Alexander could cut this Gordian knot, surely?

  12. It depends who’s on the birth certificate, doesn’t it?

    Actually, no. The mother’s partner’s rights are unaffected by whether or not they are on the birth certificate. As some men often find when they end up with the rarely-honoured-visitation rights shitty end of the stick. The primary concern is the “welfare of the child”. Therefore, a child is likely to remain with the non-mother widow rather than be pushed to grandparents or the possibly-unknown, maybe close friend, sperm donor.

    However, the change in the law wrt civil partnerships, now allows the mother’s female partner to be on the birth certificate. As “parent”.

    The real dad argues that the birth (but not DNA) mum has no rights to look after the child…

    As above for the UK – the DNA relationship (and many IV mothers use their own eggs or those from a close relation) has little if not no bearing on the child welfare decision in a divorce. Thankfully, I have next-to-no clue about Froggy divorce and child welfare law. It may be as nuts as some of their other stuff.

  13. Other John B is talking utter bollocks, as is his wont (wish he’d use a different name or fuck off, I’ve been talking my strand of raging bollocks under my name on Tim’s site for a decade).

    This entire discussion is silly. In all senses that don’t involve peerages, oh, look, the actual law. Common law definitions of ‘legitimacy’ are completely obsolete in terms of parental rights, obligations and inheritance, and people who quote them are fucking morons.

    In the one sense in which the HFEA 2008 doesn’t make the discussion moot, Tim does actually raise an interesting point.

    Peerages aren’t based on law, but on the decisions of the College of Arms; they decided in 1960 that no child born of artificial insemination by donor was heir to a title.

    Their rulings aren’t bound by E&W law, but broadly by consistency. So in the event of the Earl of Borsetshire’s son civil-partnering Bob Smith, then it’s likely but not certain that they’d rule a child made with Borsetshire’s sperm would be legitimate and that a child made with Smith’s sperm would not.

    (sorry for being stressy; two of my best friends are gay chicks currently having a sproglet for whom they’d considered me as donor. Part of the reason why I didn’t is because of the absolute clarity of the law here about who has parental rights and responsibilities. But the suggestion all of the details here haven’t been worked out, outside of the specific and 50-years-behind example of the hereditary peerage, is offensively stupid.)

  14. @”bloke in france // Feb 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I caught the tail end of a discussion on the radio today. In Belgium, France and Switzerland there are a few dozen children who are “natives” but not entitled to passports. Surrogate mother in e.g. the Ukraine then the adoptive parents split up.”
    That is appalling

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