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Is The Sperm Donor Responsible for Child Support?

In family law, the issues of paternity and child support are some of the most common and tend to go hand in hand. Often, a putative father will ask for a paternity test when the child's mother files for support. If the Court determines that it is appropriate to conduct the testing, it will order the test and the parties will know shortly thereafter whether the child belongs to the man against whom the mother filed the support complaint.

Recently, in Kansas City, Missouri, there was a very interesting development in the area of paternity and child support. A court determined that a man who provided sperm to a lesbian couple wishing to have a child in response to an online advertisement was obligated pay child support. The donor argued that he had waived his parental rights and did not intend to be a father, but the Court did not agree.

In October of last year, the Kansas Department for Children and Families filed a complaint seeking to have the donor declared the father of the child and to hold him responsible for approximately $6,000.00 in public assistance that the state had provided, as well as future child support. The donor and the recipient couple had signed a contract in which he waived his parental rights and responsibilities. Attorneys for the state argued that because the parties failed to follow a 1994 law requiring a physician to perform the artificial insemination, the contract was moot.

The Court agreed with the state stating, "In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to perform to statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties' self-designation of (the donor) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (him) of parental right and responsibilities to the child." Although this case appears to be one of a kind, its moral widely applies: If you are going to enter into a contract to perform any service, regardless of its nature, consult an experienced family law attorney before you do so.

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Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C

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Pittsburgh, PA 15238

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