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Child custody dispute brought to Florida Supreme Court

The focus of Florida courts when it comes to divorce, child custody and child support issues has changed dramatically in recent years. At least in the courts, the focus is now also upon the child - rather than the parent.

Having said that, it remains an unfortunate fact that news reporting focuses upon the parent rather than the child in most child custody matters. A recent headline notes how two lesbians' child custody battle is now going before the Florida Supreme Court. The dispute would garner practically no attention if it was simply about the child at the center of the lawsuit.

Two women have been involved in a relationship for 11 years, and one of the partners donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted in the other partner. This woman then gave birth to a child in 2004. Only the woman that donated the egg signed an actual consent form regarding this birth.

The trial court awarded custody to the woman who actually gave birth to the child based upon a Florida state law that suggests donors relinquish parental rights. The trial court's decision, however, was reversed upon appeal holding that the genetic mother of a child wouldn't be considered a donor per this law.

Understandably, the above circumstances provide a number of new and largely unanswered legal questions. Yet in these highly technical disputes, what is often lost is what is in the best interest of the child. So long as attorneys and judges focus on this as well, the above dispute will not be so much different than many other child custody matters. Nevertheless, the child needs to come first.

Source: Florida Today, "Lesbians' child custody battle goes before Fla. Supreme Court," Oct. 2, 2012

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