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Sperm donor ordered to pay child support

MrBallbagginsMrBallbaggins Registered User
edited May 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
A man who donated sperm for a lesbian couple's two children must pay support, the state Superior Court ordered in a ruling that legal experts are calling a precedent.

In reaching the decision, the three-judge panel said that since Carl L. Frampton Jr., who died while the case was pending, had involved himself as a stepparent, he assumed some of the parenting duties.

Legal experts say the ruling is unique in making more than two people responsible for a child. It also brings into question when a sperm donor is liable for support, though at least one expert said the ruling shouldn't worry truly anonymous donors.

Senior Judge John T.K. Kelly wrote in the April 30 ruling that Frampton had held himself out as a stepparent to the children by being present at the birth of one of them, contributing more than $13,000 during the last four years, buying them toys, and having borrowed money to obtain a vehicle in which to transport the children.

"While these contributions have been voluntary, they evidence a settled intention to demonstrate parental involvement far beyond merely biological," the judge wrote.

Robert Rains, who teaches family law at Penn State Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle and is a co-director of the school's family law clinic, said the decision should not intimidate men who contribute to sperm banks.

"This should be entirely different from a guy who goes to a sperm bank and makes a donation with the understanding that he will remain anonymous," Rains said.

But a court essentially recognizing three parents?

"I'm unaware of any other state appellate court that has found that a child has, simultaneously, three adults who are financially obligated to the child's support and are also entitled to visitation," said New York Law School professor Arthur S. Leonard, an expert on sexuality and the law.

Jodilynn Jacob, 33, and Jennifer Lee Shultz-Jacob, 48, moved in together in 1996 and were granted a civil-union license in Vermont in 2002. In addition to conceiving the two children with the help of Frampton, a longtime friend of Shultz-Jacob's, Jacob adopted her brother's two older children, now 13 and 12.

But the women's relationship fell apart, and Jacob and the children moved out of their Dillsburg home in February 2006.

Shortly afterward, a court awarded Jacob, who now lives in Harrisburg, about $1,000 a month in support from Shultz-Jacob. Shultz-Jacob later lost an effort to have the court force Frampton to contribute support -- a decision the Superior Court decision overturned.

Frampton, 60, of Indiana, Pa., died of a stroke in March.

"I just think that if three people are saying they're all parents of the kids, the responsibility should be shared by the three, and that's what everybody was saying," Shultz-Jacob said yesterday.

"I think there's probably more families out there like ours," she said.

"I think it's an interesting area of the law that we're probably going to see more of. The families are becoming more and more complex, and our courts rightfully or wrongfully are going to have to deal with these types of situations," said Heather Z. Reynosa, Shultz-Jacob's attorney.

As part of the Superior Court order, a Dauphin County judge was directed to establish how much Frampton would have to pay Jacob.

Reynosa, wants Frampton's support obligation, which might have to come from his Social Security survivor benefits, to be made retroactive to when Jacob first filed for support. His support payments might also help reduce Shultz-Jacob's monthly obligation.

Lori Andrews, a Chicago-Kent College of Law professor with expertise in reproductive technology, said as many as five people could claim some parental status toward a single child if its conception involved a surrogate mother, an egg donor and a sperm donor.

"The courts are beginning to find increased rights for all the parties involved," she said. "Most states have adoption laws that go dozens of pages, and we see very few laws with a comprehensive approach to reproductive technology."

The state Supreme Court is considering a similar case, in which a sperm donor wants to enforce a promise made by the mother that he would not have to be involved in the child's life. That biological father was ordered to pay $1,520 in monthly support.

About two-thirds of states have adopted versions of the Uniform Parentage Act that shields sperm donors from being forced to assume parenting responsibilities. Pennsylvania has no such law.

http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnews/2007/05/superior_court_rules_that_male.html


I didn't see any topics about this, but I apologize if I missed it.

So, does anyone else think that this ruling could be used to make grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins, etc. to pay child support simply because they show an interest in the happiness and well being of the child? When does the line between being a kind and caring friend or relative cross into being a step parent?

Does no good deed truly go unpunished?

Discuss.

Preacher wrote: »
Something tells me this story ends up with Ballbaggins fucking his house again.
MrBallbaggins on

Posts

  • JamesJames Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    James on
  • GlaealGlaeal Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    James wrote: »
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    He doesn't have to pay shit. He's dead.

    Why was a judgement even made in this case?

    Glaeal on
    Qingu wrote: »
    In fact, there was never any decree by God through the Prophet that they couldn't recieve the priesthood.
    The last nine words of this statement are unnecessary.
  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2007
    James wrote: »
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    Bullshit. That's like saying godparents have to pay child support because they buy christmas presents.

    Yeah, the guy involved himself in their lives, and he probably wouldn't have taken umbrage with contributing financially after his death, but that should have been his choice, not the court's.

    Bionic Monkey on
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  • edited May 2007
    Glaeal wrote: »
    James wrote: »
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    He doesn't have to pay shit. He's dead.

    Why was a judgement even made in this case?

    Dude, it's judges in Vermont.

    They're fucking bored.

    sdrawkcaB emaN on
  • JamesJames Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Glaeal wrote: »
    James wrote: »
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    He doesn't have to pay shit. He's dead.

    Why was a judgement even made in this case?

    No kidding?

    For one, he probably left something of value when he died. It's possible that could go towards support. For two, precedent. Past decisions affect future decisions. If the (now dead) guy has to pay, the next guy in this situation would likely have to pay (unless it gets appealed to a higher court who says otherwise).

    James on
  • JamesJames Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    James wrote: »
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    Bullshit. That's like saying godparents have to pay child support because they buy christmas presents.

    Yeah, the guy involved himself in their lives, and he probably wouldn't have taken umbrage with contributing financially after his death, but that should have been his choice, not the court's.

    Stepparents are legally recognized as parents, no? And he's only kind of a stepparent, considering the child is actually his biologically.

    edit: Basically what I'm saying is that if the method of conception were different (i.e. sex), but other variables were the same, he would have to pay support, and that kind of precedent is probably what the court is going off of to reach this decision. We'll see what higher courts say about it in the future (probably soon if he has anyone else receiving inheritance).

    James on
  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2007
    James wrote: »
    James wrote: »
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    Bullshit. That's like saying godparents have to pay child support because they buy christmas presents.

    Yeah, the guy involved himself in their lives, and he probably wouldn't have taken umbrage with contributing financially after his death, but that should have been his choice, not the court's.

    Stepparents are legally recognized as parents, no? And he's only kind of a stepparent, considering the child is actually his biologically.

    I'm basically talking out of my ass here, so take it with a grain of salt, but I think step parents are only legally parents as long as the other legal parent is still alive. I think that's why it's such a big too-do, when a step parent adops their step kid.

    Bionic Monkey on
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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2007
    isn't this like... really old? Or did it happen again? Anyway yeah, he involved himself *shrug*. Anonymous donors don't get chased, one signs waivers and such.

    'course, in states that have made it illegal for homosexual couples and singletons to use commercial IVF services, they have no option to use an anonymous donor, which means they're being dealt with unfairly.

    The Cat on
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  • MrBallbagginsMrBallbaggins Registered User
    edited May 2007
    Even if he did involve himself as a step parent, I don't believe that means he (or his estate) should have to pay child support, given he didn't legally adopt it. Involving himself by being present at birth, contributing 13,000.00 and all of that, how is that any different than say, me being present at my brother's child's birth, babysitting it at least once every two days for at least 6 hours unpaid, buying him toys and transporting him from his residence to mine? Around here, unless a step parent legally adopts the child, they aren't required to pay any child support whatsoever after the divorce. That's the part that is hard to swallow for me.

    MrBallbaggins on
    Preacher wrote: »
    Something tells me this story ends up with Ballbaggins fucking his house again.
  • Aaron LeeAaron Lee Registered User
    edited May 2007
    Heh, I saw this headline and thought "wait, didn't I just read this in the paper today?". I guess I don't expect a lot of people to post stuff from The Patriot News as breaking news. Around here, most of our news comes from the Post or the Times (expect when last year that guy slaughtered that Amish schoolhouse).

    Anyway, the article didn't strike me as anything special. It even notes that anonymous sperm donors have nothing to worry about. It's more in that this donor took motions to act as a sort of parent, and despite being dead now, these lesbians want money.

    Aaron Lee on
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2007
    James wrote: »
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    It's up to the state. In Nebraska, the stepparent has zero legal obligation to kids that are not his/hers.

    FyreWulff on
  • AcidSerraAcidSerra Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    It's not that he was acting as a stepparent, it's not that he was a sperm donor, it's that he was both.

    AcidSerra on
  • HiredGunHiredGun Registered User
    edited May 2007
    I don't see what's terribly significant about this ruling. At the very least, the thread title is misleading, since his being the sperm donor is not really the operative factor in the court's decision.

    HiredGun on
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2007
    See? See?

    You let gay people have children and pretty soon people are marrying their dogs. I told you so.

    Shinto on
  • BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    James wrote: »
    James wrote: »
    No, he involved himself as a stepparent, so he has to pay support. It's not that difficult.

    Bullshit. That's like saying godparents have to pay child support because they buy christmas presents.

    Yeah, the guy involved himself in their lives, and he probably wouldn't have taken umbrage with contributing financially after his death, but that should have been his choice, not the court's.

    Stepparents are legally recognized as parents, no? And he's only kind of a stepparent, considering the child is actually his biologically.

    I'm basically talking out of my ass here, so take it with a grain of salt, but I think step parents are only legally parents as long as the other legal parent is still alive. I think that's why it's such a big too-do, when a step parent adops their step kid.

    Wouldn't the step-parent relationship dissolve if they got divorced, also? I mean, Woody Allen. How could he be legally recognized as both parent and spouse of the same person? His parental status as unadopting step-parent must have disappeared when his relationship to the adoptive mother did.

    So if the sperm donor cuts off his relationship with the adoptive parent(s), shouldn't his parental status disappear in the same way?

    BubbaT on
  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I may be mistaken, but aren't biological fathers responsible for the child unless they officially give up all rights to the child? Anonymous sperm donors do that, but it sounds like he didn't.

    Hachface on
  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    The Cat wrote: »
    Anonymous donors don't get chased, one signs waivers and such.
    I recall, in the last child support thread, that people argued that no one should be able to sign away child support because the support is owed to the child, and no one should be able to bind the child in a contract like that.

    deadonthestreet on
  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    The Cat wrote: »
    Anonymous donors don't get chased, one signs waivers and such.
    I recall, in the last child support thread, that people argued that no one should be able to sign away child support because the support is owed to the child, and no one should be able to bind the child in a contract like that.

    Sperm aren't children. Yet.

    Hachface on
  • IShallRiseAgainIShallRiseAgain Registered User
    edited May 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    See? See?

    You let gay people have children and pretty soon people are marrying their dogs. I told you so.

    http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1664667.html?menu=

    The man shouldn't have to pay anything additional. He was going above and beyond the call of duty by providing for his child. All he had to do was donate and say bye. People really shouldn't be punished for doing extra. heck if the two women didn't want him to get involved and considered him a burden, they could have just forced him to go away. If there was any type of legal action going on, it would reasonably to expect child support. There wasn't any, so the two women should be grateful for what they got.

    IShallRiseAgain on
    Alador239.png
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    ...The courts are beginning to find increased rights for all the parties involved...



    HAH HAH HAH


    And if by "increased rights" she means "no rights whatsoever if you have a penis but lots of financial obligations" then she's right.

    Otherwise she's just another dumb bitch talking out of her ass.

    Regina Fong on
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2007
    The Cat wrote: »
    Anonymous donors don't get chased, one signs waivers and such.
    I recall, in the last child support thread, that people argued that no one should be able to sign away child support because the support is owed to the child, and no one should be able to bind the child in a contract like that.
    I'm pretty sure most everyone made an exception for anonymous donors, because contracts are signed and such. I certainly do. The thing is, '2 lesbians and their pal' or vice versa, or 'random singleton plus pal' deciding to create a child via the turkey baster/one-night-stand method isn't actually anonymous - there are no contracts signed, and no middleman, so they aren't free of those obligations. This really only becomes unfair when such groups are restricted legally from using a donor service or IVF. The problem is that a lot of jurisdictions have ridiculously restrictive laws on who can access that tech, especially when you compare it with how freakin' easy it is to get knocked up the normal way. So the three parents in the OP likely got fucked over by local laws coming and going, which is uncool.

    The Cat on
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