January 27, 2006
Case Law Development: Florida Court of Appeals Denies Enforcement of Co-Parenting Agreement
The Florida Court of Appeals found no basis in law for upholding a parenting agreement between cohabitants. This action involved two women who, after they had lived together for eight years, entered into carefully drafted co-parenting agreements in regards to a child Mother would conceive through sperm donation. Two years later the couple executed another agreement regarding a second child born to Mother. Mother and her Partner agreed that Partner would have parental rights and obligations with respect to the children. When the children were five and seven years old, Mother moved to another city and did not give Partner access to the children. Partner filed a complaint against Mother for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, residency and child support, and declaratory judgment. The trial court dismissed the action, noting that Partner and the children's guardian ad litem "made a compelling argument that it is in the best interests of the children to enforce the co-parenting agreements" but concluding that Florida law gave Partner no right to relief. The Florida Court of Appeals affirmed since, absent evidence of detriment to the child, courts have no authority to grant custody or to compel visitation by a person who is not a natural parent, and agreements providing for visitation by a non-parent are unenforceable.
Wakeman v. Dixon, 2006 Fla. App. LEXIS 659 (January 24, 2006)
Opinion available on the web (last visited January 25, 2006 bgf)
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