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State seeks child support from man who donated sperm

New technological advances are constantly changing the way many New Jersey residents live their daily lives. It may be hard to imagine life without the Internet, smartphones and MP3 players. Interestingly, these advances in technology can bring about some interesting legal questions, including issues relating to child support.

For instance, a sperm donor in another state is now fighting a demand for child support payments. The man donated to a same-sex female couple after responding to an online ad they posted on Craigslist. Even though the couple entered into a written agreement in which the man relinquished all parental rights in exchange for not being liable for child support payments, a state agency is now demanding payments from the man.

The problem began when the couple broke up and applied for state services. The state filed a petition demanding that the father repay the state for the public benefits and pay child support in the future. The agency argues that the contract the couple entered into with the donor is unenforceable because the artificial insemination was not performed by a licensed physician. A state law provides that sperm donors are immune from child support obligations only if they donate through a licensed physician - which the man did not do in this case.

In most cases involving unmarried parents, a custodial parent seeking child support from the noncustodial parent must go to court to obtain a child support order. Only if paternity is established -- either by the father's acknowledgement or a paternity action -- will the court order the child support.

Source: USA Today "Kansas wants sperm donor to pay child support," John Hanna, Jan. 2, 2012

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