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Child support requirement results from lack of legal knowledge

Many Ohio couples want nothing more than to have a child to love and raise as part of a family, but encounter fertility issues or other complications. Some of these couples may then seek to create their families through alternatives to traditional conception, such as fertility treatments, sperm donation, or surrogate pregnancies, but without fully understanding the technical issues surrounding non-traditional conceptions. In some situations, this can lead to severe and unexpected legal consequences, such as extended lawsuit battles and court-ordered child support requirements.

In Kansas, one couple’s lack of knowledge regarding their use of a sperm donor has led to complicated legal issues. According to the 1973 Kansas Parentage Act, a sperm donor is viewed as the birth father unless the donation meets certain requirements. Among these is the condition that the donation be overseen by a physician. This couple found a donor through Craigslist, and did not use a doctor in their insemination.

The couple believed that a signed contract with the sperm donor severed his parental ties to their child. This document was downloaded from the Internet, and was not prepared specifically for them by an attorney. The issue of child support arose when one of the parents tried to receive financial assistance from the state. When it was determined that donation was not performed in compliance with the 1973 law, a court ruled that the biological father owed $4,000 in support payments.

Cases such as this illustrate the importance of seeking legal guidance for situations that may involve child support or child custody issues. Those who could potentially become embroiled in a child support dispute may wish to consult with an attorney, who can help them avoid any unwanted consequences involving the financial needs of raising a child.

Source: ABC News, “Kansas Sperm Donor Ordered to Pay Child Support,” Susan Donaldson James, Jan. 24, 2014

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