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T.F. v. B.L.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
442 Mass. 522, 813 N.E.2d 1244 (2004)


Facts

T.F. (plaintiff) and B.L. (defendant) lived together from 1996 to 2000. The women, unmarried but joined at a “commitment ceremony,” decided to have a child through artificial insemination. The couple used joint funds for expenses relating to the insemination and prenatal care. Shortly before the child was born, the relationship deteriorated and B.L. moved out. She expressed regrets about being a separated parent and promised financial support for the child. After the child was born, B.L. sent a letter to T.F. stating that she desired no further contact with her or the child. T.F. filed a complaint in the Probate and Family Court Department seeking child support payments. The judge found that there was no written agreement between the women regarding having a child together and that there was no evidence of an explicit oral promise by B.L. Nevertheless, the judge found that B.L.’s continued committed behavior and failure to “stop or slow down” the pregnancy created a binding contract between the parties. B.L. breached this contract by refusing to provide child support. The judge, however, did not issue an order of support and instead reported the matter to the appeals court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cowin, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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Dissent (Greaney, J.)

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