In January 2013, Miami-Dade County Judge Antonio Marin allowed an agreement between three people, permitting all three names be recorded on their daughter’s birth certificate as legitimate legally recognized parents.
Two of the people, a lesbian couple, met the third, a gay male hairstylist, in 2006 by patronizing his salon. The business relationship evolved to a true friendship between the three and after a few discussions over 2008-2009, the man agreed to help the couple conceive a child. In 2010, the three initiated an insemination process that was soon successful. The man and one of the women became biological parents of the couple’s baby. According to the man, an agreement that he would be the “father” and would be able to see the child whenever he wished was made orally before the conception. The man claimed he couldn’t foresee the potential paperwork mess that might occur with three possible parents.
After the conception, the man had been approached by the couple and asked to sign an agreement stating that he was just a sperm-donor but never put anything in writing. The women’s attorney stated “When push came to shove, they figured he would understand the situation” and called their failure to have it in writing a “mistake”. The man then knew he needed to seek legal representation as his expectation of a, although somewhat nontraditional, family was in jeopardy. With the advice of legal counsel, the man initiated a paternity suit. A paternity action in Florida is filed in order to assist a parent in protecting vital parental rights such as visitation, custody, and financial support. Simply because someone is a biological father does not necessarily lead to him to be recognized as the father in a paternity suit.
The up-hill battle involved two years of litigation in a Florida courtroom; but to the man, this was his family, his future, and paramount interest. In Florida, true sperm donors lack any sort of parental rights. However, what the couple argued was that this was not a case of a sperm donor but rather a man participating only under the idea he was creating a family because of an agreement between the parties. The couple agree that the man is a valued and important part of the child’s life but according to their understanding of the oral agreement, they expected to have exclusive parental rights.
In addition to allowing the man on the birth certificate, Judge Marin also granted weekly visits for the new father. Since January the man has reported he is actually seeing the child more often, and he and the couple have put legal battle behind them. Seeing that all parties had the child’s best interest as their first priority, the Judge was happy to ensure that all three loving parents got the legal recognition they deserve.
Florida family law attorney Sandy T. Fox works with individuals in the South Florida area to achieve their family law goals. The Law Firm of Sandy T. Fox focuses exclusively on domestic relations law matters, including paternity, child custody, prenuptial agreements, divorce and separation, and property division. To schedule a confidential free consultation with an experienced compassionate family law attorney Sandy T. Fox, please call our law office toll free at (800) 596-0579 or contact us through our website.
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