Parent Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Parent, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Parent?

Legal father and mother of a person who gives birth and raises a child are called parents.It does not include grandparents or predecessors.It includes parents who have adopted a child after fullfilling the required legal formalities.

History and Meaning of Parent

The term "parent" refers to an individual who gives birth to and/or raises a child. While this definition seems straightforward, there has been much debate over the legal definition of a parent. Traditionally, the law defined a parent as someone who biologically produced a child, but today society has seen changes in what defines a parent.

Courts across the country have struggled with trying to balance the rights of biological parents with those of non-biological parents, such as those who have adopted a child or took on the role of being a parent through surrogacy or other non-traditional methods. As a result, many states have modernized their laws to acknowledge a broader definition of a "parent," regardless of biological status.

Examples of Parent

  1. Sally gave birth to her son, John, and raised him with her husband, Tom. Both Sally and Tom are considered John's parents because they gave birth to and raised him as their own.

  2. After years of trying to conceive a child of their own, Mark and Lisa decided to adopt a baby girl named Emily. Once the legal adoption process was complete, Mark and Lisa became Emily's parents.

  3. Nathan and David used a surrogate to have their child, Ava. While neither Nathan nor David biologically produced Ava, they are considered her parents because they arranged for the pregnancy and have since raised her as their own.

Legal Terms Similar to Parent

  1. Legal Guardian: A person who has been given authority by a court to care for a minor child.

  2. Custodial Parent: The parent who has legal responsibility for raising a child.

  3. Biological Parent: The parent who biologically produces a child.