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Old News? Great Lesson! Get a Signed Contract!

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:20am
Although this news article is from February 4th, 2008 I wanted to share it with you if only for the one line that I have highlighted at the bottom of the page. I can NOT stress enough how important a good contract (signed) is and in order to have a good solid contract drawn up you need to have an attorney that has the know-how and knowledge to do just that.
Sharon
Couple Fights For Surrogate Baby
OVIEDO, Fla. -- A Central Florida couple who lost a court battle to bring their surrogate baby home is considering another round in court.
Three-year-old TJ lives as the only child at the Lamitina home in Oviedo, but his parents remain determined to get his sister home.
Tom and Gwyn Lamitina plan to file a civil case in Seminole County Tuesday accusing the surrogate mother they hired, Stephanie Eckard, of fraud -- saying she produced a "litany of lies and dreadful acts of deceit."
They conceived using Tom's sperm and Eckard's egg. Then after the Lamitinas had their nursery ready, they said they learned Eckard lied about past pregnancies, her health and her lifestyle.
The relationship soured and the surrogate decided to keep the baby.
"She sued me for child support, health insurance and life insurance then turned around and didn't want me to see the child, so technically what I’m trying to be sued for is a sperm donor," Tom Lamitina said.
A Jacksonville judge ruled in October that Lamitina is only a sperm donor with no rights or responsibilities and no valid contract to get the baby.
"The whole time if felt like she planned this from the beginning," Gwyn Lamitina said.
"She could get her surrogacy money, get me to pay for all the medical then turn around and get me for child support," Tom Lamitina said.
The Lamitinas said they're filing this suit to punish the surrogate, stop this from happening to others, and to get TJ's little sister.
"What happens 18 years from now she comes and says, 'Dad, why didn't you fight for me? Didn't you love me?' I can't do that," Tom Lamitina said.
The surrogate's lawyer has said she's the biological mother, and legally it's her right to decide to keep the child.
The Lamitinas never got a signed copy of a contract, and they didn't involve lawyers, until it got ugly.
As part of this suit to be filed Tuesday, the Lamitinas are asking the surrogate to pay attorney fees, plus $10 million.
To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Sally Schulze.
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