When same-sex couples wish to raise a child, they are left with a number of different options for becoming parents, such as adoption, surrogacy or artificial insemination. All of these possibilities are potentially complex legal arrangements that need to be carefully planned and prepared for. Failure to account for the legalities of an artificial insemination or an adoption can lead to unforeseen family law issues, as we can see from the story of one man who is now being asked to pay child support for an artificial insemination he was involved in three years ago.
The man, a 46-year-old resident of Kansas, is currently being asked to pay over $6,000 in child support to the 3-year-old girl that he has apparently never met. The girl is the child of a lesbian couple who posted an ad on Craigslist in 2009 seeking a sperm donation. The man agreed, and signed a written contract that released him from all parental rights and responsibilities, including child support. When the girl was born, he was made aware of the fact, but otherwise had no involvement in her life.
Recently, however, one of the girl's parents had to go on public assistance. After the state told her that she could not receive benefits without disclosing the identity of the child's father, she provided his name to officials. Shortly thereafter, the man received a notice that he was required to repay over $6,000 in child support payments to the state. According to government officials, since the artificial insemination was not done with a licensed physician, the agreement the man signed is invalid.
The man is fighting against the state's decision, and it remains to be seen whether he will be successful.
This case illustrates how important it is for people to learn about the legalities of an artificial insemination or a surrogacy before becoming involved in them. Here in New York, for example, surrogacy is unenforceable, and other options are governed by specific laws that must be carefully respected. It is a wonderful thing for a same-sex couple to become parents, and a generous act to assist them. But all parties involved should take care to ensure that they are protected from any unforeseen legal surprises that may crop up in later life.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Kansas Sperm Donor Law On Child Support Payment Is Outdated: Attorney," Heather Hollingsworth and John Hanna, Jan. 3, 2013