Margo became Michael after a sex change operation in 1987. Michael “married” Linda in 1989. They had 2 children – well not exactly – Michael adopted Linda’s son from a prior relationship and Linda gave birth, in 1992, to a daughter following artificial insemination with sperm from Michael’s brother.
They “divorced” ten years later and Michael [who was Margo] was awarded custody of both children. Linda appealed and in Kantaras v. Kantaras, 884 So.2d 155 [Fla. 2nd DCA 2004], the appellate court in a case of first impression in Florida held that there was no valid marriage and remanded the case to the trial court to declare the marriage void ab initio. What about the children? The appellate court said the legal status of the children was an issue for the trial court to examine.
The parties decided to go to [you guessed it] mediation! The parties agreed to a shared parental responsibility arrangement. Linda makes the educational decisions for the 13 and 15 year old children and Michael makes the extracurricular activities decisions.
According to this article in the HeraldTribune, the trial court judge approved the mediated settlement agreement. Did Michael and Margo create their own legal rights and law? What if a dispute arises between them under the agreement, is the agreement enforceable? What do you think?
To email me, click Perry S. Itkin.
Visit the Mediation Training Center.