Like other states, Florida is seeing important changes in family law with regard to same-sex couples. As yet, the state does not recognize same-sex marriage, though a number of courts have ruled that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Another major ruling supporting the rights of same-sex parents recently came from the Florida Supreme Court.
In 2007 a lesbian couple used an anonymous donor to conceive a child. After the birth, the child was raised by both women. In 2011 the partners petitioned to have the non-biological mother legally adopt the child. The following year, the adoption was approved, and both of the women’s names were listed as parents on the child’s birth certificate. The last name of the birth mother was also changed to that of the adoptive mother and their child.
The women apparently ran into relationship problems and separated, but they continued to co-parent. This lasted for a year until the birth mother sought to have the adoption voided, and a judge in Seminole County approved the request.
However, the adoptive mother took her case to the Daytona Circuit Court, which overturned the Seminole County judge’s ruling. The circuit court stated that both women raised the child and that both women should have parental rights.
The Florida Supreme Court recently upheld that ruling, which further points out that the birth mother petitioned to have her then-partner legally adopt the child, so it “would be unconscionable” to let the birth mother end the adoptive mother’s relationship with the child just because the relationship between the parents ended.
The adoptive mother was given visitation time — parenting time — with the 6-year-old child.
If you would like to learn more about parenting plans in Florida, then our family law website is a good place to start.
Source: Watermark Online, “FL Supreme Court rules in lesbian custody case,” Jamie Hyman, Aug. 13, 2014