Archive for Wednesday, January 2, 2013

State trying to make sperm donor pay child support

January 2, 2013


TOPEKA — A Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple after answering an online ad is fighting the state’s efforts to suddenly force him to pay child support for the now 3-year-old girl, arguing that he and the women signed an agreement waiving all of his parental rights.

The case hinges on the fact that no doctors were used for the artificial insemination. The state argues that because William Marotta didn’t work through a clinic or doctor, as required by state law, he can be held responsible for about $6,000 that the child’s biological mother received through public assistance — as well as future child support.

Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said that when a single mother seeks benefits for a child, it’s routine for the department to try to determine the child’s paternity and require the father to make support payments to lessen the potential cost to taxpayers.

Marotta, a 46-year-old Topeka resident, answered an online ad in 2009 from a local couple, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, who said they were seeking a sperm donor. After exchanging emails and meeting, the three signed an agreement relieving Marotta of any financial or paternal responsibility.

But instead of working with a doctor, Marotta agreed to drop off a container with his sperm at the couple’s home and the women successfully handled the artificial insemination themselves. Schreiner become pregnant with a girl.

Late last year, after she and Bauer broke up, Schreiner received public assistance from the state to help care for the girl.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed a court petition against Marotta in October, asking that he be required to reimburse the state for the benefits and make future child support payments. Marotta is asking that the case be dismissed, arguing that he’s not legally the child’s father, only a sperm donor.

A hearing is set for Tuesday.

Marotta told The Topeka-Capital Journal that he is “a little scared about where this is going to go, primarily for financial reasons.”

His attorney didn’t immediately return a phone message Wednesday from The Associated Press, and there was no listing for his home phone number in Topeka. Listings for Schreiner and Bauer were either incorrect or out of service, and Schreiner did not respond to a message sent by Facebook.

Court records show that Marotta, Schreiner and Bauer signed an agreement in March 2009, with the women agreeing to “hold him harmless” financially. The agreement also said the child’s birth certificate would not list a father.

But the state contends the agreement isn’t valid because a doctor wasn’t involved.

Under a 1994 Kansas law, a sperm donor isn’t considered the father only when a donor provides sperm to a licensed physician for artificial insemination of a woman who isn’t the donor’s wife. The result is an incentive for donors and prospective mothers to work with a doctor, de Rocha said.

Also, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October 2007 that a sperm donor who works through a licensed physician can’t legally be considered a child’s father — and doesn’t have the right to visit the child or have a role in its upbringing — absent a formal, written agreement. But the case involved a sperm donor who was seeking access to a child but had only an informal, unwritten agreement with the child’s mother.


Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

Technically, the law favors the State's position. But I cannot help but be reminded of a passage from the great Dickens' classic, "Oliver Twist:"

"If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, "the law is a ass- a idiot.

But then again, I am also reminded of a famous legal precept set down centuries ago in the Code of Hammurabi: Ignorance of the Law is no excuse.

I do feel badly for the guy. Perhaps this is one of those occasions where a consultation with an attorney may have been somewhat helpful .

Kerry Putthoff 5 years, 5 months ago

This is where the "gay" community should stand up and be accountable. Clearly there was an agreement that the donor would have no responsibility here. The so called "partner" is the one that performed the act that resulted in the pregnancy.
this only makes an argument against gay marriage. This enabling society that we have become is rearing it's ugly head here! Stand up and be an adult, you made decision to do this knowing the outcome, now you want someone else to pay you for it!? Come on!!

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

This makes an argument in favor of gay marriage. If they had been married and legally allowed to put the partner's name on the birth certificate, she would have been financially responsible. Duh.

parrothead8 5 years, 5 months ago

Why is the word "gay" in quotation marks? Also, what is it that you want the entire gay community to be accountable for in this situation? Shouldn't this be resolved between the two women and their sperm donor? Why does the entire gay community need to get involved?

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

This also demonstrates why people who are gay desire the legality of marriage. Agreements drawn up between parties without the legal recourse of marriage can be broken much easier - even by the state.

You are asking the partner to do something she is legally prohibited from doing and you are blaming the gay community unfairly here because the state prevents them from doing what needs to be done legally.

Also, the child's right to support cannot be waived by anyone. Since the state doesn't recognize gay marriage, the state cannot go after the partner even if there is an agreement that donor is held harmless for child support. That agreement is unenforceable in court.

Water 5 years, 5 months ago

The Dude should just say, "Iiiiiii, did not have sex with that woman."

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

I feel bad for the guy. It doesn't seem right that he should be held financially responsible for these women's child. I have no idea why one would not consult with an attorney to make sure one is protected though.

This is another reason why gay marriage should be legalized. The mother's former partner would have been held financially responsible for a child that was conceived during their marriage.

Kerry Putthoff 5 years, 5 months ago

If the gay couple was so in favor of gay rights, then it would seem to me that she should be going after the lesbian partner that performed the insemination! You can't have it both ways. The man did not perform the act, the lesbian partner did. This is a desperate attempt at a money grab after her "partner" left her high and dry! Bad form Peter Pan!

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

It's not the mother who is making the money grab. It's the state. The state routinely goes after the father when he is not making child support payments.

If the state had recognized the original partnership, sanctioned it as they do other partnerships, then the state would be going after the culpable person. But because this state does not sanction gay marriage, we wind up with bizarre situations such as this.

lulumel 5 years, 5 months ago

The state doesnt need a marriage to after the father. I agree with the statement the father is the one performing the insemination. This would have been the partner.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

It's the state, not the lesbian, who's "going after" the guy.

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 5 months ago

In fact, the two women are both fully supporting the man in this case.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

If the two women merely "fully" ($$$) supported the child, there would likely be little need for them to support the male biologic parental unit; legally, morally, financially or otherwise...

asixbury 5 years, 5 months ago

One of the women had health problems that led her to file for state benefits. Assume much?

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

What about the other one? What's her excuse? There are many single earner households out there-many with more than one child to support.

What do I assume? I assume monetary support (and accepting the personal & financial responsibility implied by the decsion to have children) would go a lot farther toward eliminating this dispute than empathy. In the presence of the former, need for the latter would be moot. The two women agreed to accept all responsibility for the child, then apparently changed their minds a mere 3 years later when they decided they couldn't get along. Nevertheless, we should listen intently, nodding our heads in agreement as they tell the Court how sorry they feel for the guy; perhaps we'll even choke back a collective tear. That will sure help his balance sheet for the next 18 years or so...

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

The agreement is unenforceable in court. A child's right to support cannot be waived and since the partner is not recognized as the child's legal parent, the state goes after the biological parent.

Had the parties sought legal advice about their agreement, they would have been told that it is not one that a court would honor.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

Katara, I understand the agreement is unenforceable. I was merely pointing out the irony that the women are "fully supporting" the man (morally, not financially, e.g his attorney fees) but not the child.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

If the first parent is in the position where she needs assistance from the state, I doubt she is in a position where she could pay his attorney fees. I don't agree with your idea of what "full responsibility" means. One can be responsible for something (i.e. held accountable for it) and still not be able to financially take care of it.

You have the state not being able to assign financial responsibility to the 2nd parent due to its own laws (and laws that are very unlikely to change under this administration even though the state would greatly benefit from it).

The 2nd parent also does not get any legal responsibility too. That also means the 2nd parent's input can be ignored if the 1st parent so desires, unlike a divorced heterosexual couple who is able to have a custody and child support agreement that is enforceable in the courts. Any agreement between the two women as to how the child is raised (education choices, religion, etc) is also not enforceable in court.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

Well I don't agree with your definition of "full responsibility". Full = complete, without exception, reservation or conditions. What you suggest is partial responsibillity, IMHO. And it's not just the attorney fees, it's the imposition of an obligation that will last until age 18 or high school graduation, whichever is later.

As for the "2nd parent", as you infer, it's very likely that person has no legally enforceable interest in the child. She isn't the biological mother, is not the sperm donor and was not married to the mother, thus she likely lacks standing to dispute any of the other issues you noted.

I agree this conundrum was the result of some out-dated laws as well as poor judgment by all involved, but I stand by my point which is these two ladies should do everything in their power to ensure the sperm donor is not financially harmed by their actions. If it means one has to take a second job, then so be it. The one that can't work should apply for Social Security Disability and/or help care for the child. If the disabled person is the birth mother, she can also apply for dependent benefits on behalf of the child.

asixbury 5 years, 5 months ago

According to the TV news story aired about this issue, both women are taking full responsibility. But the one that houses the child still needs more help. The other woman said she still supports the child financially to the best of her ability. Neither woman wanted the man involved. It is the state ONLY that went after the donor.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

If both women are taking "full responsibility" as you suggest, there would be no need for financial assistance from either the state or the donor. In my world taking full responsibility means no one else needs to assist you; even if it means taking a second job. You know, like taking full responsibility for your house payment when you sign the mortgage means you are solely responsible for making the payment. Not the kind relative that gave you the lot to build on.

Both women wanted the man involved to help create the child. They established the circumstances that led to this situation. While yes, it is the state going after the donor, the state is only pursuing him because they had to pay benefits the two females previously agreed to be responsible for. He is legally obligated merely because of his/their own neglect in seeking guidance regarding the proper way to conduct such activities. Penny wise...

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

By state law, she can't go after her partner. Only a spouse can be legally liable for children produced in the course of a marriage.

It isn't a money grab by the mother. The state is going after the other parent. In the eyes of the state, the man is responsible because he is the father. By law, this is what the state does with unmarried heterosexual couples.

Legally, her partner can't be held responsible because the state doesn't recognize their relationship as legally binding and this state doesn't legally recognize the mother's partner as a parent.

Christine Anderson 5 years, 5 months ago

This time I have to stick up for the man. The State is an ass here. Whether he provided the sample via a dr. or direct delivery, sperm is sperm is sperm.

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

I agree. Of course, the state will say the law is the law is the law. My response: the law is an ass, the law is an ass, the law is an ass.

Sad, but I am pretty sure both the man and the couple had nothing but the best intentions., and were simply trying to save some money by bypassing both the medical and legal professions.

Under Kansas law an agreement between natural parents for one to give up all custody rights in exchange for no child support is unenforceable as a matter of public policy, and under these circumstances, where the mother applies for public assistance, the state can step in and ignore the agreement.

It does bring up another interesting legal issue, however. Even though the State is not bound by the agreement, the man may have recourse against either or both women based on their "hold harmless agreement." The case involves a lot of novel legal issues and would make a great law school exam question. Unfortunately, I think the man has an uphill legal battle that he is probably going to lose. A very costly mistake for someone who was probably simply trying to help out two fellow human beings have a child.

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 5 months ago

There's a twist, though, that I want to research more. From other articles, it seems that the non-biological mother adopted the child. So shouldn't the adoption order factor in somewhere? Should a home sperm donor's legal responsibility survive an adoption order? (Adoption law is very much not my area of expertise.)

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 5 months ago

Except apparently that's not true and the article that said so was wrong.

hedshrinker 5 years, 5 months ago

uh, I believe the president has nothing to do with this case, mike. perhaps you mean precedent? I do agree that if we had domestic partnerships for kids conceived by whatever means by straight or gay partners, or God forbid, gay marriage, the now non-custodial "parent" should and would be liable for child support.

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

Grammar guidance: "its" is possessive; "it's" means it is/has/was.

Also, accusing the couple of such connivance is totally spurious.

kef104 5 years, 5 months ago

mikekt, the issue is that Kansas will not recognize the lesbian couple as a couple, thus the "father" figure of the couple is seen by the state as not having any rights or obligations. When someone applies for state aid, the state goes after the other parent. The state of Kansas made this couple identify the donor. Ironically, there has been more and better information on this from the national news sites.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

"What part of "they agreed to something,.... in a contract of sorts" don't you get ????" "That doesn't make a private agreement between adults, where nobody had a gun to their heads "void"."

What part of an illegal contract being void ab initio and thus unenforceable don't you understand?

Jim Johnson 5 years, 5 months ago

Just another case of the government wanting to be in control of everything and if you decide not to involve them you will pay the consequences. Get use to it because it's here and the Liberals on here love it.

kef104 5 years, 5 months ago

It is actually the exact opposite. The ultra conservatives are behind this in order to keep the state from recognizing a lesbian couple. Moderates and liberals, and quite frankly anyone who cares about others, hate this situation.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

So will this make all donors able to claim custody, and all person's who gave up their child for adoption responsible for their support?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

Maybe. There is a legal process in place that would protect the rights and responsibilities of all involved. If you bypass that process, you open yourself up to losing your rights as well as being held responsible for things that you did not sign up for.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, but why should people have to use a doctor, if they can just do the procedure themselves?

Also, Sycophant noted that states can ignore contracts entered into willingly and freely by parties that exchange parental rights for child support - seems off to me. Why shouldn't people be able to enter into those contracts and have them recognized?

It's one of the few ways in which a pregnancy that people disagree about could be resolved somewhat fairly - if the woman wants the child, and the man doesn't, they could agree that he loses all rights and responsibilities if she has it.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

There is another party involved in this situation who has rights as well. The child. Who is representing their rights?

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

If a woman is pregnant, there's a choice to be made, and there's not yet a child involved.

How involved is/should the state be in those decisions? If she chooses to have a child, regardless of the man's desires, and is willing to forgo child support for the termination of his parental rights, why shouldn't she be allowed to do that?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

I understood your comment as suggesting that the decisions a woman makes while pregnant are binding. I don't believe that's true, though as I've said many times, I'm not an attorney. As an example, if a woman gets pregnant and legally absolves the father from any financial obligations, even with a contract, that contract would not be binding to the state as they try to get support. I doubt a court would find such a contract binding. But the bottom line is that the state has the authority to determine what is in the best interests of the child and then enforce that decision. Likewise, courts can order the same.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

A woman cannot legally waive the child's right to support. It is not her right to waive. The support is the child's right.

Any agreement that attempts to do so (with the exception of adoption such as step-parent adoption) will be ignored by the court. It is not enforceable.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

My point is that I believe that people should be able to make legally binding and enforceable contracts about these sorts of things.

Assuming that they're entered into willingly and freely, of course.

Imagine if the state went after all sperm donors in these sorts of situations - who would donate sperm? This guy did these gals a favor, didn't even get paid, and they all agreed he would have no parental rights or responsibilities.

Why should the state be able to ignore that contract?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

The reason the state should be able to ignore the contract is because it binds the state into behaving in a certain way. The state never entered into the contract.

Let me give you an example. Suppose you and your wife purchase a home. If you're an average home buyer, you take out a loan from a bank. Both of you sign the paperwork. At some time in the future, you and your wife break up and choose to divide your assets in such a way as one gets the house, along with it's continuing future obligations, the other gets something else of equal value. The divorce is a legal document. Is your agreement binding on the bank? No. Can they go after one party if the other party doesn't pay the mortgage? Yes. Just because you and your wife willingly signed a contract, in this case a divorce agreement, doesn't mean everyone on the planet must accept the terms of that contract.

The same is true here. The state has interests. The child has interests. The contract between the donor and the couple essentially waived those rights away. They can't do that. So "why should the state be able to ignore that contract". Specifically because that contract ignored the rights of the state, just as the divorce decree ignored the interests of the bank.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

That's equally absurd.

If the couple agrees to split their property that way, it should be binding on the bank as well.

By the way, if the state were really interested in the welfare of children, it would do a lot more and a lot differently - it's clear that their real interest here is in avoiding having to pay money to the mother by requiring the donor to do it instead.

Here's another scenario - many states require that health care proxy agreements are made only with family members. So, if a long time committed gay couple choose to designate each other, hospitals can simply ignore that agreement. Seems equally off to me - I should be able to decide who my health care proxy is, and the state should honor that.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

The lending institution is a party to the mortgage, not the divorce or the property settlement. The lending institution made the decision based on the financial merits of two applicants, not one. As such they are entitled to look to those parties for satisfaction.

Let's say the formerly happy couple subsequently divorce. In the property settlement the husband takes the new SUV and boat, and conveys his interest/equity in the house to the wife. 6 months later ex-wife loses her job and after a year passes can no longer make the mortgage payments. Should the bank that had no part in the dissolution of the marriage or the property settlement have no recourse versus the husband; one of the parties it lent the money to?

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, they shouldn't be able to go after the husband.

When the couple splits and property is divided, I think the bank should re-evaluate the loan based on the new circumstances, and if they don't feel it's a good risk, they can cancel the loan - it was made, as you say, to two people, not one.

Otherwise the whole point of splitting up marital assets is negated.

bevy 5 years, 5 months ago

Jafs, I learned this to my dismay in my divorce. The agreement between the divorcing spouses is binding only on them, not upon their creditors. I had my paycheck garnished for a debt that was owed by my ex under our divorce agreement. I had to enter a separate, legally binding agreement (and pay half the bill) to get a release from the creditor to avoid further collections. I was told by the collection attorney that my only recourse to recover the money was to try to get it out of my ex. Like blood from a turnip...

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

That seems unfortunate, and wrong to me.

The whole point of a divorce is that you're eliminating joint assets and dissolving the union.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

One last analogy before I feel like we're beating a dead horse. Think of an 18 year old, employed, who wants to buy a car. The bank will only approve the loan with a co-signer, usually the parent. Assuming that happens, can the 18 year old and the parent then make some other contract that absolves the parent of their obligation to the bank? The answer should be no. The bank made the loan based on the faith that should one party default, the other would be on the hook. The same is true when a marriage dissolves. But the same is true when a relationship that produced a child dissolves. Both parties should be on the hook for what they agreed to during the relationship. That can't be wiped away by those two alone, leaving the state on the hook for the child's support. And it is for that reason that the original contract between the two lesbians and the sperm donor is not enforceable, because the state's interests were not taken into account. There is a legal process in place to insure the rights and responsibilities of all are protected. These three individuals chose to bypass that process, to their peril.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

Because it is not the parents' right to waive. The child is the one who has the right to child support.

You can make decisions on behalf of a minor but you cannot waive their rights to something they are entitled to.

midwestmom 5 years, 5 months ago

Disease prevention (at a minimum) comes to mind as a reason to use a licensed physician for artificial insemination...

The idea of becoming pregnant on purpose by a stranger met through an ad is more than icky to me....

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

That's a reason, for sure, but not to mandate it, I'd say. We all make various choices about our health all of the time - how involved should the government be in those decisions?

Great, then you can choose not to do that.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

I would think one would also want some sort of screening for certain genetic diseases as well.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

So whoever held the turkey baster during the encounter(s) leading to the pregnancy should be held liable?

jaywalker 5 years, 5 months ago

" The result is an incentive for donors and prospective mothers to work with a doctor"

An incentive?! Pay a doc or pay the consequences of not paying the doc. Swell.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 5 months ago

If I pee in a cup, and someone takes my cup of pee and throws it in the court's face, would I be arrested? Really?

Well... can I at least get a videotape of the court's pee pee faced indignation?

Coming to a Tube near You...

Whatever happened to the punishment fitting the crime?

This guy never's crewed anyone?-0

costello 5 years, 5 months ago

You either didn't read the story or you didn't understand it.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 5 months ago

This made national news this AM! Thanks repubs, that'll bring all the "job creators" to our state. Come to Kansas where you body fluids are taxed and accountable.

Feel like donating blood, now that you are accountable for the actions of the recipient?

JayCat_67 5 years, 5 months ago

Nah, just make turkey baster condoms.

angel4dennis 5 years, 5 months ago

The only person I feel bad for here is the child.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

Your comment reminds me of a story I heard oh, about a decade ago. If memory serves, it came out of St. Louis. A married couple were in the midst of a divorce when the man requested DNA tests to prove that the child was really his. The tests confirmed his fears, that the child was not his biological child. He sued in court to be relieved of his financial obligations. The court ruled against him, giving a couple of reasons. The first reason was that they placed greater emphasis on the good of the child as opposed to what may be "right" for the ex-husband. The second reason the court gave was that the ex-husband, when he believed he was the father during the marriage, received a benefit himself. When that child smiled at his "father", he received a benefit. When the child cuddled with him, said he loved him, when the child did all those things a normal child does, the father received a benefit, despite the lack of DNA.

The point of the story is that we all should be looking out for what is in the best interests of the most innocent party here, the child. Taking a back seat should be the interests of the biological father, the lesbian mother, the former partner, and yes, even the state.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 5 months ago

It truly seems to be about what's most expedient for the COURT system.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

There is a legal presumption, albeit rebuttable, that a child conceived during a period of wedlock is a product of that marriage. It is not simply a matter of expedience.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 5 months ago

Legal presumptions of wedlock, conception and marriage in the court's eyes are simply a matter of expedience for the court. They do not exist in this real world. They amount to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune for those unfortunate enough not to be, or not wealthy enough to hire, lawyers.

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

I couldn't disagree more with that ruling. Why the heck bring all the emotional "benefits" tripe into it? It's coerced and unjustified servitude to force a cuckold to support a child that isn't his. It just intensifies his festering resentment of the mother and even the child. They're maximizing the short-term financial best interests of the child and meanwhile creating a psychological cancer for all concerned.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

I see lots of cold showers in your future.

peartree 5 years, 5 months ago

It is the state going after him, not he mother.

She could have claimed to not know the father and avoided this. He could have gotten a legal consultation before knowingly impregnating someone. The mothers, too, should have consulted with a lawyer and made sure the father's parental rights were not intact. It was also possible the father could have sued for custody; he still could at this point if he wanted to. I don't understand why he couldn't wave his rights at this point if the mother agrees, freeing him from financial responsibility.

Not everyone has the means to go through a doctor for artificial insemination to have a child, so I feel bad for these people. However, everyone seems a little at fault here and not making good decisions.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

ebyrdstarr, or someone with legal expertise---

Can this case set some sort of precedent in Kansas, or even nationally if it goes further up the court hierarchy?

Looking at it from a purely material viewpoint, what are they going to do if Mr Marotta can't come up with the money? The article doesn't say if he has other family to support. If he is judged liable for support, what's to keep him from packing up and moving to another state? Seems like that would be a good incentive to do what any number of people would like to do right now.

Was Mr Marotta paid in some way for his sperm and would this make any difference?

While I think going after the sperm donor is not ethical in this case, I think the state has to follow the law, which may be on their side in this case. Not sure we should be criticizing them for that. They are trying to recover child support money, which is their job by law.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

Many states have agreements concerning child support enforcement for parents that live in a different state. And if a court suspects that a parent moved in order to escape a child support obligation, it does not fare well for the non-custodial parent.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

The agreement was between the man and the woman not the man and the state, and it waived his parental rights not his parental obligations (which are not waivable).

Nevertheless, if the woman hadn't sought state aid in raising the child, the issue would never have arisen. Regardless of his intentions, he fathered a child that now needs assistance and he should provide that assistance. I would think that's something both liberals and conservatives can agree on.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Not necessarily, if he and the women had an agreement that he wouldn't be liable for that support.

Seems to me that they have (or should have) the right to make such an agreement.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

They do have that right, but they can't bind a third party (in this case, the state). Their agreement might prevent her from directly seeking assistance from him (though I doubt that because the child's best interests will always trump any such agreement), but they can't, by their agreement, make the state support the child.

If she can't support the child and is turning to the state for assistance, then it seems perfectly appropriate to me for the state to make him provide that assistance. Its beyond me why he thought he could create a child and then walk away from the responsibility just because he gave up his rights (but not his obligations).

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm sure it was his understanding (as well as the women's) that he was forfeiting his rights in exchange for the loss of his responsibilities.

He didn't even get paid - he was doing them a favor.

If the women were willing to absolve him of responsibility, then the state should honor that agreement, in my view.

It's like when hospitals disregard agreements about health care proxies.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, but his (mis)understanding of the law is irrelevant. One parent cannot absolve another parent of their parental responsibility because that responsibility is owed to the child, not the other parent.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Who will donate sperm if they know they could be on the hook for this sort of thing?

I know I wouldn't.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

There is a legal process in place that would protect everyone's interests. Those that choose to go outside that legal process put themselves at risk.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Why should people have to use doctors?

They're expensive.

And, many people may not know of those laws - we have an awful lot of them to keep up with.

Reading between the lines, it's clear that this couple didn't have a lot of money, were only offering $50 to a donor, and didn't want to use doctors or sperm banks which were more expensive. Also, that's probably why nobody used lawyers as well.

One could argue that people who can't afford such things shouldn't have children, but...

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't know the rationale behind the laws. I could guess that the introduction of disease might be a concern, therefore, a legitimate concern for the state, as they'll be the ones picking up the tab for that care.

The state has an equal concern when it comes to the support of the child. If the parents don't/can't perform that function, the state will be obligated to assume that role. Therefore, they have an interest in who the second party is. That's why a contract between the two parties can't absolve one party. That just puts the state at greater risk.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

So, how far does that go? People make decisions all of the time that affect their health negatively, and the state (ie. the rest of us) may very well wind up paying for that in one way or another.

How much freedom and individual choice are you comfortable ceding?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

The answer is some. Activity that we strongly suspect will have a negative effect on health, and therefore on the state's bottom line are taxed heavily to offset those costs, (alcohol, cigarettes). Is that some infringement on our rights? Maybe. But the point is, the state has the right to protect it's interests. The position you advocate, taken to an extreme, would look very much like the now disappeared Liberty_One's position, (who's positions I like until I use common sense and conclude that it will only look good on paper and not in practice.)

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

Well, somebody's got to present that perspective, at least a little bit :-)

Taxing activity to offset costs is a rather different thing than making them illegal, don't you think?

Our "interests" are broad, and not narrow, in my view, and include a multitude of considerations, one of which is individual freedom and choice.

Personally, I prefer education and informed choices, with people bearing the costs of their own bad choices as much as possible, with all of those choices being legal.

So I like food labels a lot, but not outlawing certain kinds of food.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

Basically, you're presenting half the equation. When someone engages in an unhealthy lifestyle, be it alcohol, drugs, unhealthy foods, etc., will we the people allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions? When they are laying unconscious on the streets, will we just step over them? When they need extended care, will we deny them?

It seems clear to me that we have made the decision that we will provide care. And that the level of care we will provide is substantial. Our investment in that care is very high. And we have a right to protect that investment. That might infringe on our right to drink ourselves to oblivion. Our right to get so high that we hurt ourselves might be limited. Even our right to ingest massive quantities of unhealthy products might be limited.

I might be inclined to agree with you if you took your position to it's logical conclusion. Legalize drugs and let the individual entirely suffer the consequences for their actions, both good and bad. Let people drink as much as they want, with the same consequences. Let them have as many children as they want, and when they can't afford a proper upbringing, let natural selection takes it's course. Er, never mind. Taken to it's logical conclusion, I'm inclined to disagree with your position.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

I didn't say anything about children suffering for their parents' bad decisions, which is obviously not something I'd want.

Otherwise, I tend to prefer letting people suffer the consequences of their bad choices, if they were informed ones.

Your version is too "government heavy" and intrusive for me, and only considers our "interests" as very narrowly focused financial ones.

The better solution is to inform people, let them deal with consequences, and thus be motivated to make better choices on their own, rather than start banning fatty foods and large sodas.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

Way behind again LJW. A story today in the Topeka CJ says one of the lesbians misled authorities that started trying to make the sperm donor pay child support in the first place. Before writing your paper everyday, check out the Topeka paper for the true and correct information, please.

richh 5 years, 5 months ago

Come on! Why both women put an ads on post and they found a man who can donate sperm for them to have a baby, then they broke up to make father pay the child support? Both women put an ads on the post and look for sperm donate first, not father! So, Father should not pay child support! That both women should agree with child support on their own child!

oldbaldguy 5 years, 5 months ago

should have talked to a lawyer who knew what he or she was doing before launching this project.

acg 5 years, 5 months ago

In actuality, the state won't get involved unless the mother of the child applied for some sort of state assistance: medical, food, cash, etc. If she applied for assistance, the first thing the state does is determine if she's getting child support and if not, they dig into the "why" of that issue.

To me, this seems a non-issue. We're still trying to run this whole child support thing like it's 1950, when we have to get with the times. The man shouldn't be help liable at all. The mother and the "step-mother" should forever be responsible for this kid.

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

That's fine, but then we should grant them the legal rights as well as the responsibilities.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

I agree in part, but lesbian "step mother" isn't a recognized relation in Kansas. If the couple could have gotten married, then maybe the step mother could have been held liable for support.

acg 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh I'm all for that. There's no reason a gay couple shouldn't be allowed to marry, divorce, deal with custody and child support BS just like the rest of us.

JayCat_67 5 years, 5 months ago

No, no, no. Divorce/custody battles/child support should only be between a man and a woman. This would only ruin divorce/custody battles/child support for everyone else.

SnakeFist 5 years, 5 months ago

The agreement between the parents is irrelevant. One parent cannot release another parent from his or her parental responsibility because that responsibility is owed to the child, not the other parent.

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

Not a good hypothetical, as those facts would never come up in real life. It would be virtually impossible to link the discarded semen with a particular individual.

Try this one. Very attractive young lady starts dating a doctor. She claims to have an IUD to prevent pregnancy, but is lying, as she wants to become pregnant and trap the doctor into marriage. She succeeds in getting pregnant,, and is immediately dumped by the doctor when he discovers her deception. She refuses an abortion, has the child, and sues for child support.

True life story. I know the doctor.

At trial she testifies that she told him she had removed the IUD four months into their relationship. He denies that.


Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

She won big time. Around 1,200 per month in child support.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 5 months ago

The man was not a parent, except in a biological sense...which is truly meaningless in this instance. The couple presented themselves as the parents. They attempted to release the sperm donor from any legal responsibility for child care/support/parental responsibility...OR they tried to trick him. In either case, they should be responsible. If the state can't sort that out, there is a problem with the state. There is probably a problem with the state...and all will suffer. THANKS, state!

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

I feel sorry for the poor little baster kid.

hujiko 5 years, 5 months ago

No, you don't. Making jabs at a toddler is real classy.

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

I just hope somebody steps up and gives this kid a better life, because it sounds like a pretty ugly start even before this nation-wide snickering about being a "baster bastard."

ScottyMac 5 years, 5 months ago

Have you been huffing bath salts, wilbur? Your post makes no sense whatsoever.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

It took me about five reads. The jist was:

We are spending money on Hispanics and these two women are single moms, which is bad. (I don't get the connection)

The bio-father should sue for custody and pray his son doesn't have corrupt genes from the lesbian mother.

Put the kid up for adoption. (This sort of conflicts with the last statement).

People that do stuff he doesn't in the bedroom are NUTS!, He's willing to gamble.

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

In this instance there are two parents, and if the state wants to go after the parent no longer caring for the child it should pursue the partner who agreed to raise the child, not the sperm donor.

I can't help notice that this story about lesbians and a sperm donor brought out the conservatives in their finest glory -- whatever name they go by right now.

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

He isn't a "dead beat," but a misguided semen samaritan. I'd adopt the child for its sake and maybe try to sell a screenplay about this hilarious mess...

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

What if the women do not want his money? Aka capable of providing for the child themselves.

This is a perfect example of BIG GOVERNMENT interfering in the personal lives of others!!!!

The Sam Brownback team loves BIG GOVERNMENT.

Turning Medicaid over to the medical insurance industry is another example of BIG GOVERNMENT going where need not be.

This Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism posing as the GOP is all about their personal agenda and hatred and bringing in BIG GOVERNMENT as if they are somehow very special which they are not.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

If the women were capable of providing for the child themselves, then assistance from the state would not have been sought & this case would not exist at all.

BIG GOVERNMENT involved themselves in it because the women (or at least one of them) applied for government assistance.

streetman 5 years, 5 months ago

Thoughts: 1) If just between the woman and the donor, then none of my business. However, if the child needs my tax dollars, then it's my business. I, as a taxpayer, am represented by the state. Neither I nor the state signed any agreement protecting this guy from financial support for this child. If this child needs state support, than I expect the state to go after him and mom to pay as much as they can. 2) If this guy is allowed to not help support this child, might it set a precedence for other fathers of illegitimate children to use an "I'm was a donor, not a father" defense?

streetman 5 years, 5 months ago

Hardly the same situation. Adoption is done legally, with legal safeguards for all. Yep -- state would be on the hook -- not the ANONYMOUS donor.

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

Again, if Kansas offered equitable recognition of gay unions, I'd assume that the woman's partner would be on the hook rather than the biological father. Holding the biological parent(s) financially accountable would then seem absurd as it would be in an adoption scenario, but again adoptions are always much more documented than this mess was.

And it would certainly take a lot of chutzpa to call yourself "a donor" when you inseminated a woman during a sexual relationship, and that's likely why the state requires donor agreements to be set up with a doctor. That policy seems fair and responsible, so I ultimately don't feel that much sympathy for the guy if the state rules against him. And since it's genetically his kid, I hope he decides to help out in any case. His offspring has been in the middle of parents separating and suffering health and financial struggles, and is now, to top it off, a national punch line. He could certainly play the hero if he's up to it.

Nikonman 5 years, 5 months ago

The guy IS the true biological father regardless of the law. According to the law, If an MD had done the artificial insemination he would Not be the Legal father. If it were done by a non-physician he Is the Legal father. That law makes no sense at all. Could it have something to do with the financial betterment of the Doctors? The article I read said it costs between 2 and 3K to to the job.. I think it's up to the couple to support the child. One other point: After the couple bought the sperm, did it not become their property?

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

So are your really cycloptic or is wilbur just the part that does all the thinking?

jafs 5 years, 5 months ago

A co-signer on a loan is a bit different from property held jointly.

I agree that a lender should have a chance to re-evaluate the loan if the property is no longer held jointly and the parties have divorced.

The simplest way around this sort of problem is to just sell all joint assets and divide the money, but people don't always want to do that.

I'd say that again you are using a very narrow money-focused lens to decide what our "interests" are - I think part of our interest should be not punishing people for helping others out in the way this guy did. There are other cases as well - if a woman tricks a man into impregnating her, that's not behavior I want to reward either. Or if somebody cheats on their spouse, and then gets 1/2 of the assets in the divorce.

If the state's interest is that children are taken care of, that's one thing. If it's just to save money, that's another, and far less compelling, to me.

jayhaitch 5 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately, unlike the characters in The Wizard of Oz, this poor guy IS still in Kansas.

coolmom 5 years, 5 months ago

I was a foster parent once to a child whose parents were abusive, when we wanted to adopt they simply had the parents sign over their parental rights and didnt even charge them with the at least in one of the parents cases horrific abuse. They got off scott free. Didnt have to answer for drugs, abuse or the cost of raising a by then very troubled young teen. I was astounded that Kansas made it so easy for these parents to just sign away rights and walk away. I am also astounded that they would come back on a sperm donor although i guess they could hear that all the time....

Satirical 5 years, 5 months ago

If a woman can opt out of the financial hardship of having a child by aborting a fetus, why can’t a man choose to opt out of financial hardship before the fetus becomes a child? This social policy of forcing an individual who doesn’t want to have a child to pay for a child is similar to slavery.

I understand the social implications of not supporting the child, but the state still chose (through statute or otherwise) to provide support. I understand that if the state didn’t go after the father it would be a greater burden on society (taxpayers), but again, that is the choice of society. The ending of slavery was a financial burden on slave owners who invested much of their money in slaves. But no one would dare say that slavery is justified because of ending its practice would cause financial harm to society. Forcing men to pay for children they do not want is not justified for the same reason -- it is morally wrong.

Some argue the state wasn’t a party to the agreement between the sperm donor and the couple, and therefore the state can still sue the man because the state pays child support. However, the state chooses to pay child support. It isn't forced to do so. I wasn’t a party to the agreement either, so if I choose to provide the child with financial support does that give me standing to sue the man as well?

If a man (or woman) agrees to have a child, s/he should be financially responsible for it. If a man (or a woman) does not want to have a child, s/he should not be forced to bear the financial, physical or emotional burden. It is unequal and injust that only women have the right to choose how a child would impact her life?

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