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March 18, 2006
Case Law Development: Ohio Surrogate Mom Must Repay Her Fee to Biological Father Because She Won Custody of Children
In an ongoing battle between the courts of Ohio and Pennsylvania, the latest ruling comes from Ohio where the surrogate mother, who was awarded custody of triplets she delivered, must repay the biological father her $20,000 surrogate's fee and the child support he was required to pay for the three boys. Although a Pennsylvania court had ruled that the contract between the parties was void, in a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the 9th Ohio District Court of Appeals said the surrogate mother had violated her surrogate's agreement when she claimed the triplets as her own after their birth and took them home to Pennsylvania. The contract contained language that required the surrogate and her spouse to surrender custody of the children following their birth. It also contained language stating that if the agreement was breached, the surrogate and her spouse would reimburse the biological father, a 64 year old professor at Cleveland State University.
The court ruled that “upon undisputed evidence that the surrogate and her spouse breached the contract and the conclusion that the contract is enforceable,” the surrogate and her spouse are liable for restitution of the monies paid by the biological father, “as well as attorney fees as may be determined by the common pleas court on remand.” Moreover, they are liable “for all monies the biological father has been required to pay to them by court order, such as child support.” J.F. v. D.B., filed March 15, 2006. Ohio Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. You may download the Ohio_Court_of_Appeals_surrogate_slip opinion here.pdf (reo)
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