In an age where children can be conceived in a number of scientific ways, the definition of a parent has become increasingly blurry. Minnesota residence will often read about these types of situations, which can involve sperm donors, surrogates and in vitro fertilization methods.
One such case is grabbing national headlines after a man was ordered to pay his ex-wife child support for two kids that he is not biologically responsible for.
When the couple was married, the woman conceived their two children by using sperm from a friend. One of the children was born in 2004 and the other in 2006. The man was unable to conceive a child because of a previous vasectomy procedure he had done. The man also apparently went along with the idea of using sperm from the family’s friend.
When the husband and wife decided to divorce, the man claimed that he should not be on the hook for the $119 in weekly child support payments because he was not the biological father to the children. He backtracked on earlier statements and said he did not voluntarily consent to the process.
The court did not agree with the man. Because the children were born to the couple during the course of their marriage, the children were branded as children of the marriage. The court also pointed out that the man raised and supported both children during the course of the marriage, and acted as if he was their biological father.
This decision was appealed, but the appeals court recently agreed with the lower court’s ruling.
While this seems to be a special case, these types of child custody and support disputes are becoming more and more prevalent in family law. This is why when a couple chooses to take an alternative route in order to have children, they need to look down the road and identify any possible legal obstacles they might encounter.
Source: USA Today, “Court: Ind. Man must support kids by sperm donor,” Douglas Walker, Jan. 16, 2013