FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Pinellas County; Jack Helinger,
Carrington Madison Mead, Jacksonville, for Appellant.
Stephanie M. Willis of Willis Law and Mediation, PLLC, Palm
Harbor, for Appellee.
case involves a child born to Nicole Ann Springer (the
Biological Mother) while she was in a same-sex relationship
with Christy Dale Springer (the Former Partner). The Former
Partner appeals the Order on Mother's Verified Motion to
Dismiss that dismisses for lack of standing the Former
Partner's amended petition for declaratory relief in
which she seeks a recognition of parentage and time-sharing.
parties met and began their relationship in Ohio. In spring
2013, they began discussing forming a family. The Biological
Mother later became pregnant by an intrauterine insemination
procedure in which her egg was fertilized by donor sperm. The
Former Partner paid for the sperm used in the procedure, but
she has no biological connection to the child. Before the
child was born, the Former Partner researched online and
found a document which addressed coparenting. The parties
signed a "coparenting agreement" on June 24, 2014,
which referred to the child to be born as "our
child" and expressed the intention for the parties to
"jointly and equally" share parental
responsibility. But the agreement recognized that under the
law their power to contract regarding the child was limited.
The agreement also stated "that the law will recognize
[the Biological Mother] as the only mother of the
child." The child was born on July 14, 2014. The parties
moved to Florida with the child in May 2015 and later
separated. They never married, and the Former Partner did not
adopt the child.
amended petition, the Former Partner seeks to be recognized
as a legal parent of the child and to be awarded parental
responsibility and time-sharing pursuant to section
61.13(2)(c)(1), Florida Statutes (2017). However, a
coparenting agreement between a biological parent and a
nonparent is not enforceable under Florida Law. See
Wakeman v. Dixon, 921 So.2d 669, 671-73 (Fla. 1st DCA
2006) (determining that a coparenting agreement between a
same-sex couple was unenforceable under Florida law where a
former partner sought a declaration of parental rights);
see also D.M.T. v. T.M.H., 129 So.3d 320, 346 (Fla.
2013) (involving a partner who was the egg donor seeking
parental rights and distinguishing Wakeman because the
partner there who claimed parental rights was not a
biological mother; recognizing that cases involving
nonparents did not apply to biological parents); Russell
v. Pasik, 178 So.3d 55, 59-60 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015)
(relying upon Wakeman in determining that the time-sharing
provisions of section 61.13 apply to parents, not nonparents,
and determining that a "de facto" parent in a
same-sex relationship had no standing to seek time-sharing);
De Los Milagros Castellat v. Pereira, 225 So.3d 368,
372 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017) (Logue, J., concurring) ("In
D.M.T., the Florida Supreme Court expressly approved
Wakeman's holding that the lesbian partner who was the
birth mother had parental rights protected by the
constitution that prevailed over the claims of a partner who
was neither the biological nor legal mother, even though the
couple clearly intended to raise the children together."
(citing D.M.T., 129 So.3d at 346)).
commend the trial court for its thorough analysis and
acknowledge its concerns that "the law is slow to
address" changes in this area "as society and
medicine create new factual situations," echoing Judge
Van Nortwick's special concurrence in Wakeman. See
Wakeman, 921 So.2d at 674-76 (Van Nortwick,
J., specially concurring). Despite his observations, Judge
Van Nortwick recognized that Florida law does not provide a
remedy to a partner who has no biological connection to a
child. See id. at 674. Based on the applicable law,
we affirm the trial court's order.
NORTHCUTT and BADALAMENTI, JJ., Concur.
In the amended petition, the Former
Partner requested relief under Florida law. Despite inquiry
by the trial court, she did not present any substantive
argument regarding Ohio law, the location where ...