This is an interesting story. An England couple decided to hire a surrogate to carry their child for £10,000 in expenses. Suddenly, halway through the pregnancy, the surrogate decides she wants to keep the baby. What a disappointment for the couple. However, it gets worse. A judge supports the surrogate’s decision to keep the baby because she is the biological mother of the child. The Judge then orders the couple to pay the woman who “stole” your child £500 per month in child support – even though you will never see the baby.
This sounds unfair. The court reasoned that the couple should pay the surrogate child support based on the following:
1. The couple in this real-life case only “made an informal agreement” with the surrogate, offering to pay her £10,000 in expenses.
2. After the surrogate decided to keep the baby, the couple “relinquished their contact rights because they said it would be too difficult emotionally and that it was unfair for the baby to be split between two homes.” They even allowed the surrogate to keep the £4,500 they had already given her. But the couple wants to stop financially providng for the child’s life.
From an English court’s perspective, its been argued that the biological mother has every right in this instance to keep the child. In Britiain, “surrogacy agreements are not legally binding in court, even with a formal written contract.” (Note: in the United States, only eight states have laws protecting the contractual arrangements of surrogacy.)
Additionally, though it was extremely underhanded of surrogate to decide to keep the child midway through the pregnancy and potentially wrong of the court to award her custody, now that she has custody, she has every right to receive child support from the baby’s biological father.
In Orange County and other Southern California Counties, one must proceed with caution when considering surrogacy. A change of heart of the surrogate is really something that potentially could arise.
For more information on child support, contact an Orange County child support lawyer for more information.