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State requests man pay child support after donating sperm

Every year, new technological advances change the way of life for many Alabama residents. Indeed, it may be hard for some to imagine life without the Internet, smartphones and iPods. These advances bring some interesting legal questions, as well, including child support issues.

For instance, a sperm donor in Kansas who donated to a lesbian couple after responding to an online ad they posted on Craigslist is now fighting a demand for child support payments. The couple reached a written agreement with the man where the man relinquished all parental rights in exchange for not being liable for child support payments.

Nonetheless, when the couple broke up and applied for state services, a state agency demanded the donor’s name. The couple complied with the request to disclose the man’s name, although they supported his resistance to child support when the agency demanded payment.

According to the state, the contract signed between the man and the couple was null and void because the insemination was not performed by a licensed physician. Because the state does not recognize same-sex unions, the state cannot collect child support from same-sex parents.

Often, sperm donors donating through a sperm bank are protected from paying child support by state parenting shield laws. However, in ambiguous cases like the above, courts have varied on ordering child support.

In a typical case, a custodial parent seeking child support from an unmarried parent must go to court to obtain a child support order. The court will then enter an order only after paternity is established, either by the father’s acknowledgement or a paternity action. Cases like the above present different circumstances, however, making for a difficult fit with existing law.

Source: NBC News, “Kansas demands that sperm donor pay child support,” Dec. 30, 2012