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Two Moms, Two Dads, and a Baby

By Neetal Parekh on July 16, 2009 7:01 AM

Custody Battle Between Two Gay Couples Raises Questions About Sperm Donors, Birth Certificates and Contracts

Remember back in the day when marriage was between a man and a woman, divorce wasn't that common, and children generally grew up with a mom and dad... yeah, neither do we really.   Luckily we adapt to the changes and just roll with the punches.

And this is one unique punch to roll with.

In Florida, two gay couples are vying for custody of a toddler who was born to one of the women, conceived through a sperm donation from one of the men.  If you have been reading this blog regularly, or even semi-regularly, you have a window into the complexities of child custody and importance of what is recorded on a birth certificate.

Being recorded as a parent on a birth certificate opens the door to claims for rights or custody in the future.  The mother chose to include the father, a close friend, on the birth certificate to give the child a grounding as to who his father is.  The child grew up under the primary care of his mother and her partner but with hands-on involvement from the father and his partner.

This re-definition of family worked well as the baby took his first steps and graduated from soft to solid foods, but when the mothers planned a coastal re-location to California, the fathers put their feet down, all four of them.  The father filed for custody arguing his inclusion on the birth certificate and his involvement with the child.

Whether the judge was compelled or not by the display of four-way love for the child we cannot say; however, she ultimately ruled against the father stating that he was merely a sperm donor and had "no rights" in the absence of a contract with the mother before the baby's birth. 

Just like any endless love, the father has not given up his even in light of the judge's ruling.  A motion for reconsideration is scheduled in the circuit court for later this week.

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