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Sperm donor child support case shows laws can be complex

An out-of-state child support case highlights a kind of sensitive issue that might come up in Massachusetts, too. The definition of family is changing across the country. Same-sex marriage laws are changing, depending on the state, and science is changing the ways in which children are brought into the world. 

An example of an alternative family and the family law issues that have impacted it is in Kansas. A lesbian couple wanted to have a child and found a man who volunteered his sperm to them -- no middle man involved. A child resulted from the reported written agreement between the parties, and now not even the alleged contract is allowing the parties' deal to remain.

The man and the women assert that they created the contract to protect the "sperm donor" from owing any parental responsibility to the child or family. Parental rights include custody, visitation and child support.

The donor agreed to give up his rights to custody and visitation and, in doing so, also signed on as an ineligible source of child support. According to the state where this unique family-related deal occurred, however, the contract doesn't matter. State law requires a physician's involvement in sperm donation to classify a father as a legit "donor" who is free of responsibility linked to paternity.

Despite what he and the mothers of the child thought was a clear deal among them regarding the financial support of the child, the state is going after the paternal father for child support that it has already provided to the family, as well as child support for the future. With the help of an attorney, the donor is fighting the ruling.

Child support is a hugely important and sensitive matter. Kids do need and deserve money in order to be raised with necessary care. Ensuring that the money is coming from the right source, however, is important, too.

Someone who believes that they are owed child support or should be relieved of the responsibility or have the support amount modified should work with a family law attorney in their state. Child support laws vary from state to state, and Massachusetts generally uses its own standard formula to create support agreements.


Source: CNN, "Kansas court says sperm donor must pay child support," Chandrika Narayan, Jan. 24, 2014

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