Just a couple weeks ago, actor Jason Patric's paternity case grabbed
headlines, and for good reason. While this child custody dispute continues
to play out in a California courtroom, the results could reverberate across
courts nationwide. In the ever-changing sea of family law rules, it appears
that a significant step has been made that could increase the number of ways
paternity can be established. According to this recent ruling, if an unmarried sperm donor maintains
a strong parental relationship with the child, this could be grounds for
recognizing paternity, and then granting
child custody rights.
In this case, the actor had donated sperm to an ex-girlfriend, who conceived
their son via artificial insemination. Patric is said to have been involved
his now 4-year-old son's life, and the mother is even said to have
described Patric as "Dada" to her son. But then the mother ended
the relationship with Patric, and he has been striving since to gain custody and
visitation rights. His initial paternity petition was shot down, as not only was the couple
unmarried at the time of in vitro fertilization, but the two had never
drafted a co-parenting document. There is also a California law that stipulates
sperm donors have no parental rights, a measure that shields donors from
having to pay
In the appellate court, however, another law won out. This law says that
someone is presumed to be a child's natural parent if that person
"receives the child into his or her home" and if they "hold
out the child" to be their biological son or daughter.
Of course, matters of family law are always complex, but
father's rights, child support responsibilities, and sperm donation have made for a particularly
unpredictable combination, as courts have differed a great deal in their
rulings. Whether you face questions about pursuing artificial insemination,
donating sperm, or establishing paternity, it is vital that you consult
an experienced family lawyer. You need to understand what your rights
are, and how any such actions could affect them.
Talk to a skilled family lawyer in Long Island today when you reach the Meyers Law Group, P.C.