In many cases, custody agreements are between father and mother, but there is one case recently that's making national headlines: a custody battle between father and mother-surrogate. Colorado residents may have heard of the case, where a man and woman agreed to have children years ago and now the eight-week-olds' parentage is being called into question.
When the man and woman in this case decided to have a child together, they reportedly were not aware that the woman couldn't have children biologically, so they had her carry anonymous eggs along with his sperm. They also didn't sign any legally-binding contract regarding the parentage or custody of the twins. The woman who carried the children to term and wishes to be legally seen as their mother allegedly didn't know that her friend with whom she made the decision to have children was planning on having full custody of them and caring for them with his own partner. The question now is what is the definition of motherhood?
While the father would wish to be granted full custody, the mother has been reported to have asked for joint custody, referencing their plan and explaining that's what they had agreed on. It is customary public talk that the mother usually receives the majority in custody disputes, but this one may act as precedent for future surrogacy cases in terms of entitlement. The couple was to appear in court regarding this issue several weeks ago and details of the case are unknown hereafter.
What this case will most likely serve to do regardless of the court's ruling is entreat couples or parties engaging in surrogate arrangements to be clear about what the expectations and entitlements are going to be. Making sure that the parental rights and custody rights are explicitly laid out can help so much in this kind of situation. If there is a question about a parent's rights or a parent's title, as in this case, seeking out legal counsel can help to understand Colorado's laws and previous rulings in such cases and know how to proceed.
Source: abclocal.go.com, "Parental rights lawsuit may be landmark case in motherhood," Tom Abrahams, Sept. 21, 2012