In re M.F. (Kansas 2019)
For an oral parenting contract to be enforceable, the parent must show a meeting of the minds on all essential elements. K.L. and T.F., same-sex partners, were in a long-term relationship. T.F. gave birth to M.F. using artificial insemination. The women had no written parenting agreement. They later separated, and K.L. filed a parentage petition. The court heard evidence from many people about K.L.’s relationship with M.F. The court denied K.L.’s petition finding that there was no meeting of the minds as to a co-parenting relationship, and the evidence didn’t show that K.L. had held herself out to be M.F.’s parent. K.L. appealed. The Court of Appeals upheld the decision. K.L. failed to show how an oral parenting contract would give her any rights under the Kansas Paternity Act, which clearly contemplates a written agreement. The court noted that the evidence was hotly disputed at trial. K.L. didn’t identify the essential elements for an oral parenting contract, much less show a meeting of the minds for an oral contract.