The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of a lesbian mother who sued her ex-partner for parental rights after the couple separated and the birth mother left the country. The child was conceived with a donated egg from the plaintiff and carried by the defendant. The birth mother’s attorney argued that a Florida law that prevents sperm donors from establishing parental rights should have applied in this case.
The Supreme Court found that because the couple intended to raise the child together, evidenced by statements from the fertility doctor, the child’s hyphenated last name and the birth announcement, the sperm donor law did not apply in this case. The case was ordered back to the lower court, so the matters of child custody, visitation and child support could be settled.
When the trial judge made the initial ruling, he reportedly said that he hoped his decision would be overturned in a higher court. The child is now 9-years-old. The biological mother had not seen her daughter for the past six years and was emotional when she learned of the high court’s decision.
Child custody matters can be complicated. By hiring a lawyer to handle the technical aspects of custody, visitation and support, parents may be able to focus on their children to help them through the separation. An attorney who has experience in family law may hire experts who can testify to the best interest of the children and may work with the other parent’s attorney to try to reach an agreement that can be presented to the judge for approval.
Source: ABC News, “Fla. Supreme Court Settles Lesbian Custody Battle“, Brendan Farrington, November 07, 2013