Father Awarded Custody In Out-Of-Court Settlement
LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ The mother of 7-month-old twins conceived under a surrogacy contract has agreed to surrender custody to the Arkansas man who contracted for their birth, attorneys said Wednesday.
The agreement averts a custody trial scheduled to begin next week.
Laurie Yates of Ithaca, Mich., and Barry Huber of Jonesboro, Ark., reached settlement late Tuesday, said attorney Kathleen Boyle.
″Under the terms of the settlement, Barry Huber has legal and physical custody of the children. They’ll reside with him and his wife Glinda in Arkansas,″ she said.
Mrs. Yates will be allowed to see the twins once a year, said Lisa Vogler, one of the lawyers who represented the surrogate mother in her suit to keep the twins.
″Nobody was bought off, nobody was bought out of the suit,″ said attorney Robert MacAlpine, who negotiated the settlement for Mrs. Yates and her husband Richard. ″It was probably the ultimate act of love on Laurie Yates’s part.
″They realized that in their precarious financial condition they could never provide the kind of home for the twins that the Hubers could,″ he said. Both are unemployed.
Boyle said she did not know when the Hubers would be able to take the twins home.They were placed in foster care on Saturday to protect them from stress and attention during the trial that was to have begun next week. Before that, the babies divided their time between the two families, spending two weeks at a time with each.
Mrs. Yates sued for custody before the twins were born.
She had a mid-pregnancy change of heart about surrogate parenting and decided she could not give up her children.
Earlier this year, Gratiot County Circuit Judge Timothy Green declared the surrogate contract unenforceable, so the trial would only have determined which set of parents was most fit to raise the twins.