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Medical technology may change the face of child custody disputes

One celebrity story may actually have relevance as far as family law cases are concerned. Jason Patric apparently fathered a child by being the sperm donor for another woman. After the child was born he had a continuing relationship with the boy. However, at some point the mother decided to withhold visits. Patric now would like to regain visitation rights with the son and establish a parental relationship with the child.

A family law judge originally ruled in a west coast courthouse that no parental relationship had been formed. Patric's name did not appear on the birth certificate. Also, in that state sperm donors that are not in a marital relationship with the woman are said to have no parental rights. The concern in passing such legislation was that problems could possibly arise in the event that the sperm donor did assert his parental rights.

This matter was scheduled to be appealed so the outcome of this matter remains in doubt. The attorney for Patric claims that the trial court erred in a number of different ways. He also claimed that evidence indicated that the mother "indicated him to be the father." Even after the matter is appealed, we may still not see the end of this case.

Family law attorneys often work with parents to avoid contentious disagreements in child custody disputes that may prevent them from first doing what is best for the child. While not many such cases like this have arisen in the past, with new medical technology we can expect many more of these to occur in the future. These matters need to be ironed out so that it's clear who can and cannot make decisions for the child, who has custody of the child, and what the conditions concerning visitation will be set.

Source: The New York Times, "Does ‘Sperm Donor’ Mean ‘Dad’?" Brooks Barnes, May 2, 2014