Natalie was delighted to speak at Resolution’s Child and Family Day in London today. Representing the U.K. and Ireland LGBT Family Law Institute, which she chairs, Natalie spoke together with fellow FLI member Andrew Spearman from Layton’s solicitors.
Natalie and Andrew addressed family law solicitors from across the U.K. about the law and good client care when working with modern families including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clients, and parents through assisted reproduction. They discussed the issues for family lawyers dealing with children cases and separation/divorce as well as the specialist areas of surrogacy, known donation and gender identity.
The key best practice takeaways that Natalie and Andrew recommended for all family law solicitors were:
- Routinely asking all clients if their children were conceived through assisted reproduction in order to identify any underlying legal issues around parenthood and advise properly.
- Understanding the law on parenthood thoroughly or being prepared to refer to a specialist where needed.
- Volunteering pronouns to all clients and asking how they want to be addressed to demonstrate that lawyers are not making presumptions about gender identity and are inclusive and welcoming to trans clients, as well as making sure names and gender identity are respected consistently.
- Being sensitive to using the right terminology when working with LGBT clients. Calling (or not calling) someone a ‘parent’, ‘mother’, ‘father’ or ‘donor’ might have huge emotional significance to them, whatever the legal position. If you aren’t sure what to call someone, ask!
Thank you to Resolution for giving us the opportunity to raise awareness and spread the word to improve the experiences of LGBT and other modern family clients seeking family justice.
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