Elrod and CFLC Cited in Kansas Supreme Court Opinion

Photograph: Professor Linda Elrod.Professor Linda Elrod and the Washburn Law Children and Family Law Center wrote and submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Kansas Supreme Court in the case of Frazier v. Goudschaal.

The case involved same-sex partners who had entered into an agreement to coparent children who were conceived by artificial insemination and born to one of the partners. Following the couple's breakup, joint custody was granted to the non-biological parent; the biological parent argued her parental rights were violated when the district court awarded parenting time to the ex-partner.

The Center's brief argued that the coparenting agreement, in connection with the artificial insemination in this case, protects children by providing clarity and predictability; reviewed three theories which have been used by other states to grant nonbiological caretakers custody and parenting rights; and discussed the Court's previous opinion where it held that without a written agreement, a sperm donor has no standing to assert parental rights to the child born via artificial insemination.

The Kansas Supreme Court issued its opinion in this case on Friday, February 22, 2013, including mention of the Center's brief.

The decision upheld the right of a same-sex nonbiological partner to continue parenting the two children born to the relationship. In its opinion the Court stated that "Denying a child conceived by artificial insemination the opportunity to have two parents through a null agreement does not comport with the constitutional mandate to provide substantive legal equality for all children regardless of the marital status of their parents" and found that the agreement "contained no element of immorality or illegality and did not violate public policy, but rather the contract was for the advantage and welfare of the children, rendering it enforceable by the district court to the extent it is in the best interests of the children."

The case was returned to the district court to hear evidence pertaining to the best interests of the children and reconsider matters of visitation time.