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.