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The Courts The Almighty Buck

Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support 644

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "David Stout reports at Time Magazine that what began with a Craigslist ad from a lesbian couple calling for a sperm donor in rural Topeka, Kansas ended in court on Wednesday with a judge ordering the sperm donor to pay child support. The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed the case in October 2012 seeking to have William Marotta declared the father of a child born to Jennifer Schreiner in 2009 so he can be held responsible for about $6,000 in public assistance the state provided, as well as future child support. 'In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to perform to statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties' self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental right and responsibilities to the child,' wrote Judge Mattivi. Marotta opposed that action, saying he had contacted Schreiner and her partner at the time, Angela Bauer, in response to an ad they placed on Craigslist seeking a sperm donor and signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities. 'We stand by that contract,' says Defense attorney Swinnen adding that the Kansas statute doesn't specifically require the artificial insemination be carried out by a physician. 'The insinuation is offensive, and we are responding vigorously to that. We stand by our story. There was no personal relationship whatsoever between my client and the mother, or the partner of the mother, or the child. Anything the state insinuates is vilifying my client, and I will address it.'"
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Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

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  • by LordLucless (582312) on Friday January 24, 2014 @05:52AM (#46054681)

    Second of all, if you cannot have children in a normal way then maybe you shouldn't be fucking over the people that help you have one in an abnormal way.

    While I broadly agree, it doesn't appear the lesbian couple actually asked for the guy to pay child support; that was all on the state's initiative.

  • by RR (64484) on Friday January 24, 2014 @06:05AM (#46054735)

    On the one hand, I think it would be neat to make money by self-pleasure. On the other hand, I feel that sperm donation is a bit icky.

    On a genetic level, it's little different than offering your kid for adoption. Actually, it's about half your kid. If you have fashionable features, it's a good way to spread your genes to the next generation.

    On a social level, it's basically making babies without parental responsibility, and without the fun of sex or the possibility of venereal disease. I don't see how you could in good conscience make babies with the intent of selling them off. Furthermore, fashionable sperm donors sometimes become the genetic fathers of many, many children. Sometimes the children start dating without knowing that they're genetic half-siblings.

    Increasingly, medicine is benefiting from family history tracking. Education benefits from parental involvement. A sperm donor would be depriving the children of those useful resources.

  • by gsslay (807818) on Friday January 24, 2014 @06:30AM (#46054805)

    You can totally blame the parents. What is this "$6,000 in assistance"? If these are benefits over and above what all parents are entitled to, why are the parents planning children that they are not financially able to support?

    You can't say this was an accidental pregnancy. They effectively devised a plan that said; we'll go to some lengths to create a child, and the state will pay for it because we can't. If this wasn't a donor situation then, of course, the state would go hunting for the father's money. So why should this be different? The state was not party to any legal arrangement they had between themselves. Like it or not, he was complicit in the plan.

    The only fault the donor made is in not ensuring the couple wanting the child could support it.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday January 24, 2014 @06:30AM (#46054809) Homepage

    I was almost victim of the vicious child support system. It's damned ridiculous. It has gotten to the point that everyone is better off avoiding anything going into public record. It's basically too late to say that though.

    My ex-wife was illegally claiming my sons when collecting welfare in California. She apparently didn't need to present anything more than their social security numbers because she filed and started getting money. Meanwhile, the state tracked me down in my home state and contacted their child support services office to start extracting money from my pay.

    There was just one problem. I had my sons with me and had them for quite some time. I contacted my state's office and they said there was nothing they could do. I have the children in question. One would think this is a slam-dunk. No. I requested they contact the school they were enrolled in to confirm they were with me. She wouldn't do it. It's not her job to validate -- just to do things to people. So I ended up taking the kids from school with copies of all the records I could collect and went down to her office in person. What could have been resolved with a phone call and some faxes had to be done at the inconvenience of my sons and a day's pay from me because I had to take the day off of work to resolve it.

    It was resolved. But it was stupid. What people can do without proof has to be fought and even lost with insurmountable evidence to the contrary. There are cases where a person was charged with paternity, proven he wasn't the father and still shackled with child support. Why? Because he spent time with the mother and the child. That goes beyond reason. They've got it both ways. It's biology. It's relationships.

    So take it from me and every sad case out there. If you see a single mother, stay the hell away from her. She's a disease. I know that sounds completely awful and it is. But the system was built this way and single mothers take advantage of it far too often. Fathers are guilty until proven innocent and many are still punished afterward. Women are never held accountable for their actions and no one can expect otherwise. The only reasonable way to protect is to treat them as if they were a contagion. The situation is dangerous. Purely dangerous. And the greater the danger, the more extreme the measures one must take to protect one's self.

    Sorry ladies... sorry kids. Blame the system and stop using it. If you want to depend on a man to take care of you and your children? How about taking care of him in return and making a family? Also, how about selecting a good man instead of "an exciting one" and being a good person yourself. I know it sounds stupidly old fashioned and somehow out of date, but there is a reason those ancient ideals were formed in ages past and the reasons they were needed then are the same as the reaons they are needed today.

    I was lucky. The game didn't quite work in their case though I am sure if they tried to press it, it would have worked anyway. My eyes were opened to the situations out there and they are huge and tragic. Don't let labels like "deadbeat dad" fool you. Women are not innocent in any of this. They hold the control and the leverage and will use it when it suits them.

  • by Your.Master (1088569) on Friday January 24, 2014 @06:56AM (#46054883)

    The kid has two parents, so you could get the mother's partner to pay up rather than the father. The other woman explicitly chose to be a parent, thus the burden should be her responsibility. Why aren't they? Perhaps because this guy has more income so he's the guy they can extract money from, or perhaps they just think the law is written heteronormatively enough that this will work better.

    I don't know the breakdown of $6000 of assistance but I wouldn't just assume that's over and above what another parent might get without more information, since there are numerous tax effects of having a kid. I'm not assuming the other way either. It's just really hard to infer from no information whatsoever.

    Note that the state doesn't stop the extremely poor from having a kid together, and then target the midwife for child support payments. Why should this be any different? There were two parents signed up. If the state doesn't like the poor having kids, maybe the state can consider a solution that affects all poor people having kids (it's easy to imagine that going wrong, but it's an option).

  • by tempmpi (233132) on Friday January 24, 2014 @07:42AM (#46055079)

    I don't think you can blame the parents for "fucking over" the donor: it's the Kansas Department for Children and Families that has brought the case, and the recipients of the funds may not have a say in the matter.

    And the Kansas Department for Children and Families is completely right about this: Two persons cannot make any contract or agreement that takes away the rights of a third person. It is the right of the child to get support from his biological parents. The mother cannot decide that the child should not exercise this right. Even as a legal guardian of the child she can only make decisions for the child that are in the interest of the child. But not getting support from the child's farther is in the interest of the mother but not in the interest of the child.

  • by Entrope (68843) on Friday January 24, 2014 @07:56AM (#46055169) Homepage

    Why do prospective parents need permission from the state (or a doctor) if they are using a sperm donor, but don't need permission if they use their own gametes?

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:08AM (#46055223)

    On a social level, it's basically making babies without parental responsibility, and without the fun of sex or the possibility of venereal disease. I don't see how you could in good conscience make babies with the intent of selling them off.

    I think the problem is in your definition of parent. I don't think semen is a baby, or that ejaculation creates a parent. I believe the role of parent is one that should be entered into voluntarily. For instance: A woman in the USA should be allowed to take birth control pills. A woman should be able to have an abortion if she decides to not be a parent. She should be able to give a child up for adoption if she doesn't want it. Currently a mother can drop her child off at any safe-house, no questions asked, no 18 years of child support, and she doesn't even have to tell anyone (not even the father) that a child was born.

    Now, I don't think a man should have control over a woman's body just because she's impregnated with his sperm. He shouldn't be able to force her to abort or carry to term his child. However, since Motherhood is voluntary in the USA, then in the interest of equality, Fatherhood should be voluntary too. A woman is not required by law to inform her partner about her taking of birth control, or forgetting to take it. A man should be able to wear a condom if he wants to. A man should be able to get a vasectomy without consulting with his partner (doctors frequently prevent the latter). A woman can choose not to carry the child, or to give it up for adoption or drop it off at a safe house, so a man should be allowed to opt-out of fatherhood as the woman can.

    If the woman knows she can not force a man to be a father against his will, then maybe she will make different choices about bringing a life into the world she can not support -- or opt to give it up for adoption. The lesbian couple agreed to become parents, the sperm donor did not. When the lesbians split up, the other woman who was not pregnant but had agreed to be a parent should be the one paying child support -- It was these mothers' voluntarily agreeing to become parents, then reneging late in the game that caused the situation where child support was necessary. The lesbian couple adopted a donor's sperm and agreed to carry out the parenting roles that come with having a baby. That adoption is such a racket these days is a related, but altogether different matter. However, it's interesting that even in adoption you have people voluntarily entering parenthood -- The state doesn't just force people to raise a child against their will... unless the person is a man.

    It's quite heinous to force a child to be raised by people who do not want it. Indeed, to prevent mothers from abandoning their babies in dumpsters we have the no-questions asked safe-house drop off. Men shouldn't control women's bodies, but it's ridiculous to not give men any reproduction rights at all, especially when allowing them to opt-out of fatherhood well before the child is born doesn't limit a woman's choices in the least: She can still decide to be a mother or not. It's quite telling that feminists actually lobby against even such small degree of male reproductive rights, meanwhile claiming to be in favour of, "Equality". This is why I support Women's Rights, not feminism: Part of the problem is that the mother's lesbian partner was not given the right to be the child's parent. Granted, there are official means for sperm donors to help the couple out, but in the interest of equality and fairness the Judge shouldn't have required the donor to pay child support -- He only recognized half of the lesbian couple's right to voluntary parenthood.

    Education benefits from parental involvement. A sperm donor would be depriving the children of those useful resources.

    You are delusional if you think that two lesbian women would necessarily be depriving their child of the useful resources of education and parental involvement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:16AM (#46055271)

    Doesn't the child have two parents (both women)?

    Why are they unable to support the child they wanted?

  • by Scutter (18425) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:17AM (#46055277) Journal

    FTFA: He could now effectively be held responsible for around $6,000 in assistance already provided by the state along with future child support payments.

    The question you should be asking is "Why should everyone else have to pay for it?"

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:21AM (#46055309) Homepage

    The system is amazingly difficult to fix. Every judge, for example, is under intense scrutiny by women's groups. These 'charities' literally pay people to sit in court and observe cases and when the ruling is in favor of the man, it is brought into question and appeals are even paid for, at times, by these same charities to bring about the result they seek.

    This is not about justice or fairness. Men tend to be ignorant of these things and simply live by naive ideals I wish we could all live under. My son, for example, has been seeing this girl for maybe two months at most now. He just took her to planned parenthood for birth control pills. I'm probably going to become a grandfather soon. He doesn't understand it. She is "taking control of the birth control issue for him." There are some things I can tell him and a lot more I cannot... you know, because he already knows everything and has it all under control. As a man who has lived through that scam, I know what it leads to. It's a future where he's locked in and she's happily indulging her biological instincts.

    He will likely end up giving his life for her. And I don't mean dying. People define life as death. I don't get that. Life is every day of every moment you are alive. When you are forced by law under threat of imprisonment to give up your money and your time, it's not a choice. The choice is, was and remains hers at all times. If a mother wants to stop being a mother, she CAN! Can a father? Nope. Not ever. Why is that?

    It's the system. A sexist system. And people like you? I can't tell if you're male or female and it doesn't matter. You can't believe in justice if you believe this is just. The system only punishes men even when it is the woman's fault.

  • by Muros (1167213) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:37AM (#46055393)

    FTFA: He could now effectively be held responsible for around $6,000 in assistance already provided by the state along with future child support payments.

    The question you should be asking is "Why should everyone else have to pay for it?"

    Everyone pays for everyone else's children. Since he has been found by the court to be financially responsible for the child, is he going to be given the normal tax breaks associated with dependents?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:45AM (#46055455)

    This is exactly what happened with me. When my wife and I married she had two kids from a previous marriage, but she had sole custody from the divorce. We were married in November so I didn't claim the kids that first year on my taxes as I had not supported them for more than 6 months, but that first year we filed separately so she could claim them (suggested by my tax preparer). The second year she hadn't worked (we had a boy of our own) and that year I claimed all 3 kids.

    The IRS contacted us saying the two older kids socials had already been used in a filing, from her ex husband. Note that even though he had been ordered to pay child support, she never received a dime from him (the kids are all grown now and he never contacted them until the youngest of the two hit 18). We got in touch with the IRS office locally, showed them where we had custody and they had lived with us for the entire 12 months of the year.

    Not only did the IRS go after her ex and slap him with penalties and fines, they even re-evaluated our returns and gave my wife a child care credit for the first year. So I agree with TaoPhoenix, don't hesitate to use other means if you can prove fraud.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:52AM (#46055521) Homepage

    I agree. But when the choice is "risk your life" or "defend yourself" I recommend defense each time. It is sad and unfortunate that people are so very addicted to welfare systems in all of their forms. It needs to be stopped. But the moment anyone tries to take it away, all hell breaks loose. "Think of the children!" Yes. Think of the children. Unfortunately, the women who are not accountable for their actions and decisions are effectively children as well. After all, when you define what is a child, you describe them in terms of whether or not they can support themselves or even others. Well, a child can't, sure. But what about the mother? Can she? The system says she can't. She believes it. She now fits the definition of a child.

    Logically, a child must be cared for by someone capable of doing so. I agree with that. The system doesn't. The system says "the man makes money. give it to this woman who cannot otherwise take care of herself... for the children." Some states like Florida, have a more objective system that involves scoring. This at least gives men a fighting chance to win custody and the right to claim child support. It actually happens from time to time when a smart guy is able to work within the system but he generally has to do it on his own because the system doesn't volunteer itself for men the way it does for women. One man I know got his children after years of fighting... and spending. He won everything including child support. He moved to another state (with permission from the courts) and continued receiving child support as required.

    Here's the kicker, in my mind. The mother made a legal motion in the man's new state of residency claiming that the child support orders she was under were too hard and heavy a burden. The judges in the new state ruled in favor of this woman and ordered the man to return the money she pays to him in child support. See, the judge of one state could not overrule another. She actually petitioned her local court for relief and was unsuccessful. She (I believe she was advised by an advocacy group) then did it in another state and won "reverse child support." HOLY CRAP.

    When men seek relief, they get "pay up or lose your driver's license and/or go to jail, we don't care. this is the cost of having sex." That's what men are told. What are women told? Read the paragraph above this one to see.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:03AM (#46055617) Homepage Journal

    Selfish dykes ruining shit for the rest of the lesbians...

    You're not paying attention. There's no way to know what happened to the women for whom the guy was a sperm donor. They might have had illnesses, other problems, that caused them to have to go on public assistance. For $6000, it must not have been for very long.

    The point is that the women aren't the ones who went after the guy's money, it's the State of Kansas for whom a pair of lesbians raising a child from a sperm donor must seem terribly like the work of Satan. I would doubt very much if they would be going after anybody for child support if it had been the star wide-receiver on Kansas' football team knocking up some Lawrence town girls.

    Remember, Kansas is the state where they wanted hospitals to report all miscarriages to the state Attorney General so they could bring manslaughter charges against the women having the miscarriage.

    Kansas is a whole different world. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the two lesbians are being tried as witches or something. I thought that Kansas' reputation for backward religious nuttery must be an exaggeration, until I spent a year there on a fellowship, teaching literature to the children of those god-botherers. There is something very wrong in Kansas.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:28AM (#46055813) Homepage

    There are more generalizations about men that are true than about women. So let's talk about men since you are one and so am I.

    1. Men don't usually initiate relationships. Women do. They make the choice more than men do.
    2. Women hold the box of sex and control it and use it to their advantage. (I don't hold this against women, I would do the same if I could. This is not 'about men' exactly but still an important point.)
    3. Men don't usually end relationships. Women do. Men generally want no changes... just to keep on doing what they do. It's women who are famous for wanting change.
    4. A man, kept happy, will remain completely loyal and devoted to his partner. Trouble is most often a man doesn't just usually leave on a whim. Things have to be pretty bad for him to want to change his life...even endanger his life by leaving a woman.

    So consider that when you cite women abandoned by men. What causes a man to act against his normal nature and behavior. What impetus drives a man away?

    Were I a wiser man when I was younger, I would have abandoned my wife long ago. Why? Because she fought loudly and violently. Neighbors would call police and when they came, she answered their questions about "ma'am? did he hurt you?" with "yes." It was a lie but the system... it doesn't allow police to make such determinations. She said it, he gets arrested. I should have ended things with the first incident. I didn't. She later recanted her claims to the police and I was released to go back to work earning money for her to spend... multiple times.

    I'm a man. My manly sense says I will take care of my family no matter what it takes. Well? It nearly cost me my freedom. Trying to be a good man cost me a lot more than it should and certainly was more than negated by the harm of following my naive ideals. She left me. The results were nearly the same as if I left her. She went for public benefits and that started the state coming after me with their legal powers and all that.

    Women don't have sex "just to trap men." No. That's precisely why I used the words " happily indulging her biological instincts." She's blameless. It's her body that makes her do it. It's not intentional. But then again, as a man, we know our bodies make us want to do things too. It's not an excuse for us. It's not one for women either... unless you are advocating that women are children and so not responsible for their actions or decisions.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Friday January 24, 2014 @10:19AM (#46056375) Journal

    OK, let me see if I understand:
    "It's her body, her right to choose" (to have an abortion). It is a meaningless mass of tissue that can be disposed of at the mother's convenience. The father gets no say because logically, it's the woman and her body that are at stake.

    "Pay me the money" Yet if they decide not to abort, the CONSEQUENCES of the decision will have a lifetime impact financially on the sperm donor/father.

    Isn't that nearly taxation without representation? Essentially a choice is being made about my (male) future wealth without my participation.

    IF the choice to continue/not continue a pregnancy is your choice, the consequence is your responsibility.
    If the consequences fall partially on me, I better have a goddamn say.*

    *And for those of you who would respond "You had your say, you stuck it in" - in FACT I'd agree with you. But if you go down that road, then you also have to concede that women MADE THEIR CHOICE when they allowed it to be stuck in. Certainly, rape happens, and in cases of rape I would indeed say that is the sole circumstance where a woman IS of course entitled to make the decision without the father. But let's also remember that not all rape is actually rape, as Roe v Wade clearly showed (she claimed rape, it wasn't).

  • by achbed (97139) <> on Friday January 24, 2014 @10:45AM (#46056751) Homepage Journal

    You're correct, but isn't it sad?

    If you really think it is so sad, why don't you call up the Kansas DCF, and volunteer to support the kid yourself? It may be sad that the responsibility is being forced on an unwilling dad, but it would be sadder if it was forced on unwilling taxpayers.

    Because that's not allowed. Only parents can have any say in anything about a child. Except the police. And DCF. And the state legislature.

    What's sad is that the state is using a technicality to override a valid contract, over the objections of all other parties. I wonder what impact this may have on parental rights contracts in adoptions? The issues are very similar - sign your parental rights over another party. So if an adoptive parent goes on welfare, can the welfare office retroactively cancel the adoption because it cost the state money?

  • Re:No good deed... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Friday January 24, 2014 @02:10PM (#46059351)

    This has nothing to do with same-sex couples. This could have happened with a differnt-sex couple or a single person.

    But it didn't, did it? How many infertile men are out there, whose female partner gets pregnant through artificial insemination? The sperm donor doesn't pay child support because of contracts. In this case, the judge is saying that the contract isn't valid because the insemination wasn't carried out by a physician, even though the law doesn't require that. So in reality, their contract is no different than an other artificial insemination contract except that it wasn't carried out by a doctor, which doesn't actually matter in the law. Except it supposedly matters to the Kansas Department for Children and Families and to the judge.

    So, either the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the judge all have their heads completely up their asses (which is doubtful, because bureacratic cranial-rectal syndrome generallly results in inaction, not over-action) or the department and the judge are being discriminatory and using a non-existent law as an excuse.

Everybody likes a kidder, but nobody lends him money. -- Arthur Miller