Family Law

Man who responded to Craigslist ad for a sperm donor is a dad, must pay child support, judge rules


William Marotta didn’t intend to be a father when he responded to a Craigslist ad for a sperm donor in 2009, and the two women who sought one didn’t want that result, either.

But, because they didn’t have a physician perform the artificial insemination procedure, the written waiver of his parental rights that all parties agreed to doesn’t comply with the requirements of a Kansas state statute, a judge ruled Wednesday in the Shawnee County District Court case. That means Marotta is officially the father of a child conceived by one of the women using his sperm and owes child support, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

The issue came to the court’s attention when the Kansas Department for Children and Families sued Marotta for support in 2012. The state sought to have Marotta declared the child’s father so that he can be held responsible for $6,000 that the state has already provided as well as for future child support. The state said Marotta’s contract with the two women in which he waived his parental rights and responsibilities is invalidated by a 1994 state law.

“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 rights and responsibilities to the child,” District Judge Mary Mattivi explained in her written opinion (PDF).

Jennifer Schreiner is the mother of the girl at issue. It appears that today’s ruling by Mattivi could require further judicial decision-making on child custody, based on the best interests of the biological daughter of Marotta and Schreiner.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Kansas Sues Sperm Donor for Support, Says Written Waiver of Parental Rights Is Not Valid”

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