In the previous post, we discussed a headline-grabbing case involving a same-sex couple and a sperm donor. At the point we left off, one of the women had lost her job, so she was unable provide financial support for her child. Her former partner sought state assistance to make up for this deficit. However, the state of Kansas soon became involved.
State officials sought reimbursement from the sperm donor for the public benefits, in addition to suing him to provide monthly child support payments. This was based on the idea that in-vitro fertilization must be performed by a physician, according to Kansas law. As a result of the situation, the state believes that the man never forfeited his parental obligations.
The woman who was providing support payments said she tried to explain the situation to public officials in order to prevent the sperm donor from being held financially responsible, but she received no response. Since the ruling, the donor has noted that state law has simply failed to accommodate the needs of families headed by a same-sex couples.
Although this case is unique, it includes a number of issues facing same-sex couples living in states where they can’t enter into a legal marriage. Without ability to get married, couples also don’t have the liberty of going through divorce proceedings. Due to this lack of legal protection, it can be difficult to settle financial issues, including child support.
Additionally, this case raises issues of parental rights for same-sex couples. With the recognition of marriage, it seems that it would also be easier for individuals to maintain parental rights and responsibilities during and after a relationship.
More than anything, this case serves as a reminder of some steps that same-sex couples in Texas might want to consider. Until there is a change in state marriage laws, it may be beneficial look into existing laws regarding parental rights (including cases of sperm donation) and determine what options are available to meet the needs of each individual family.
Source: Texas Public Radio, “Court To Sperm Donor: You Owe Child Support,” Feb. 12, 2014