Is a Parenting Contract with my Former Girlfriend Valid?

Cindy Best

Here is the scenario. Two women are in a relationship and decide they want to have children. Mary decides that she will be artificially inseminated with donor egg and sperm, belonging to neither Mary or Julie. Mary and her partner, Julie, are all excited about this and decide to make up a parenting agreement to take care of the kids. Mary was told by a lawyer that this was a good idea for her. Really? Mary, by the way, is the only legal parent to the kids and is the sole parent. There is no one to force to pay child support and she can make all decisions for her sons. So why would she contract and give away those rights? Can you really contract with people and give them rights to your children that they do not legally have? Here’s how the story goes… Mary births the twins and they are born healthy. Immediately Mary knows that parenting with Julie is not going to work. Julie has no patience, she helps with nothing, doesn’t pay for the kids and is very mean to Mary. But they have this contract…even though they were never married and Julie is not a legal parent and is not genetically connected to the kids in any way. A few years go by while Mary parents and Julie causes more and more friction. Finally Mary makes Julie move out and allows Julie to see the kids for some weekends, as long as Mary knows where they are and where they are going. Four more years go by and Mary wants to move back to Maine where she is from. She and the boys move and Julie then files a lawsuit in Arizona claiming she has third party rights to the children. Her case moves through the court and goes to trial. On a temporary basis, one judge ordered Mary to fly the boys to Arizona once a month to visit with Julie…the non legal parent. How did that happen? Then, there is a final trial with a new judge…what will that Judge decide? Doesn’t the US Constitution give parents rights to parent their own children if they are fit and proper parents? Can the government really come into our families and tell parents who they must let spend time with their kids? We shall see…the ruling is under advisement.

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