Married couple with adopted daughter
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By Michael Tupper
Attorney at Law

If you and your partner are considering using a surrogate to start your family, the value of a solid agreement cannot be overemphasized. When you have a contract with clear terms, you can help ensure you, your partner, and your volunteer mother are on the same page, as well as prevent costly litigation if things do not go according to plan.

These agreements are referred to as preplanned adoption agreements in Florida. This is because once the volunteer mother gives birth, you and your partner are expected to adopt the child, while the volunteer mother relinquishes her parental rights to the child.

In order for your preplanned adoption agreement to pass legal muster and provide the greatest amount of clarity, you will want to make sure it includes the following nine provisions:

1. Choice of Fertility and Volunteer Mother’s Obligations

You and your partner have the right to choose the fertility treatment option whereby the volunteer mother will become pregnant. This choice should be specified in the agreement. The agreement should also state that the volunteer mother agrees to give written consent allowing the child to be adopted after birth. 

2. Reasonable Medical Evaluation

Next, the agreement should indicate that the volunteer mother agrees to a reasonable medical evaluation. This includes following reasonable prenatal medical advice as well.

3. Assumption of Parental Rights and Responsibilities

The volunteer mother must acknowledge that she will assume parental rights and responsibilities for the child if you and your partner end the agreement before custody is transferred to you. The volunteer mother may also be responsible for the child if a court does not approve the preplanned adoption agreement.

4. Biological Father’s Responsibility

Another key element you’ll want to include is an acknowledgment by the intended father that if he is the biological father of the child, his parental rights and responsibilities will remain even if the preplanned adoption agreement is terminated. These responsibilities will also remain if a court refuses to approve the preplanned adoption agreement.

5. Right to Rescind Consent 

The agreement should specify that the volunteer mother may terminate the agreement at any time prior to the child’s birth. She may rescind her consent to place the child for adoption within 48 hours after the child’s birth. 

Keep in mind that these rights only apply if the volunteer mother is genetically related to the child.

6. Allowable Compensation

Florida law specifies the compensation you and your partner may pay the volunteer mother. This includes reasonable living expenses, lost wages due to the pregnancy, and any reasonable fees related to the pregnancy, such as legal and medical fees. Other forms of in-cash or in-kind compensation are prohibited.

7. Obligation to Accept Custody of Child

Your preplanned adoption agreement will need to specify that you and your partner will assume custody and all parental rights of the child immediately after the child’s birth. This obligation exists even if the child is born with an impairment.

8. Right to Specify Typing Tests

If you or your spouse intend to perform blood and tissue typing tests, your agreement should identify whether you or your partner intend to be one of the child’s biological parents.

9. Right to Terminate Agreement

All parties should have the right to terminate the preplanned adoption agreement at any time prior to the birth of the child.

How a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney Can Help

With so much at stake in a surrogacy arrangement, you do not want to risk your legal rights by trying to craft a preplanned adoption agreement yourself. At Tupper Law, P.A., our experienced Jacksonville family law team can draft a comprehensive agreement for you to help your pre-arranged adoption proceed as smoothly as possible. 

Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn how we can protect your family’s rights and best interests today.

About the Author
Michael Tupper is an experienced and skilled attorney from Jacksonville, FL, and is the driving force behind Tupper Law P.A. With an illustrious career spanning several years, he has established himself as a reliable and skilled legal advisor and representative across various disciplines. Having obtained his license to practice law in the State of Florida in 2004, Michael has consistently catered to the legal needs of Northeast Florida, encompassing Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties. His unwavering commitment to delivering timely, personalized, and proficient services reflects his dedication to providing the highest level of professional assistance.