State of Kansas hits sperm donor for child support

by Walter Olson on December 29, 2012

William Marotta and the recipient of his donation signed an agreement that he would have neither rights nor obligations with respect to any offspring that resulted. But the state of Kansas says that shouldn’t insulate him from paying child support for the three-year-old daughter on whose behalf the state picked up $6,000 in medical bills unpaid by the mother, who had fallen on hard times. [Topeka Capital-Journal, Huffington Post]

{ 11 comments }

1 Shotgunner 12.29.12 at 11:59 pm

Well…. did the state either (a) sign the agreement or (b) have law supporting it?

Caveat emptor or caveat vendor. Buyer/seller beware.

2 Cloudesley Shovell 12.30.12 at 9:57 am

Jennifer Schreiner is the mother of the child. Angela Bauer was, at the time of the sperm donation, her partner, and also signed the contract. So what happened to Angela Bauer? Is she a party? If not, why not? Is the State of Kansas attempting to hold her liable? If not, why not? That’s a giant unanswered question.

3 Karen C 12.30.12 at 2:16 pm

This was part of the welfare reform act signed into law by Bill Clinton. Because so many children were living in poverty and getting government assistance, any woman applying for benefits has to name the father(s) of the children so that they could be made to pay child support, rather than the tax payers. In states where the father’s name isn’t required on the birth certificate, the woman has to name the father(s) (or whom she thinks may be the father) and the state pays for the paternity testing. In Texas, many a man has been grateful for this as they have been released from child support obligations with the testing (even though they were led to believe they were the father). The only way for women to avoid this happening is to not go on the public dole. Where is mom #2, what happened to her job? If mom #2 is unemployed or underemployed, why didn’t mom #1 get a part-time job to help cover?

4 gitarcarver 12.30.12 at 3:54 pm

I went looking for the statute upon which the state is relying for this:

23-2208.?Presumption of paternity. (a) A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

(f)?The donor of semen provided to a licensed physician for use in artificial insemination of a woman other than the donor’s wife is treated in law as if he were not the birth father of a child thereby conceived, unless agreed to in writing by the donor and the woman.

There is an agreement between Bauer / Schneider and Marotta.

The state seems to be dismissing that part of the statute and relying on the “licensed physician” part of the statute.

Marotta’s lawyer is right – if this ruling goes the way of the state, men can be charged with fathering a child even though they thought they had the protection of a legal agreement with the new parents.

5 Hugo S. Cunningham 12.31.12 at 12:13 am

It doesn’t surprise me to see Kansas behind this travesty. They have the most immoral and grasping child-support law in the country. They even went after a 13-year-old boy who had been molested by his 18-year-old babysitter!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermesmann_v._Seyer
Certain Kansas politicians claim to be “pro-family” and “pro-marriage.” Isn’t it time for them to overturn a court ruling that equates child-molesting with marriage?

6 wfjag 12.31.12 at 4:03 pm

Hugo, exactly what do you expect to come out of a place named “Topeka”? According to Washburn University (Topeka, Kansas) Emeritus Professor Barbara Burgess, Ph. D.:

“The word ‘Topeka’ comes from Indian words meaning a good place to dig potatoes.”
http://www.barbburgess.com/research-topics/prairie-potato-topeka/topeka-s-roots-the-prairie-potato

In other words, the citizens of Kansas were warned that their capitol was located at a place known to be one where you put your seeds in the ground, and a few months later the tubers are ready to come out. Someone has to pay for the harvest.

7 Mannie 12.31.12 at 5:24 pm

if this ruling goes the way of the state, men can be charged with fathering a child even though they thought they had the protection of a legal agreement with the new parents.

The child never signed the agreement. The right of support belongs to the child not to the parents.

8 Hugo S. Cunningham 01.01.13 at 7:21 am

@Mannie–

The natural right of child support is called “marriage.” Where marriage does not exist either explicitly or implicitly, the State may create artificial rights of support, but usually accept bounds of morality, eg not going after rape victims, sperm donors, or victims of fraud. Where no legitimate second parent is to be found, a civilized state will assume a child’s “right of support” on itself.

(In this case, there is a marriage, even if political gamesmen in the Kansas government choose to ignore it.

9 OBQuiet 01.01.13 at 4:33 pm

I wonder how this agreement was drawn up? I would think that if I paid a lawyer for this sort of advice and them ended up on the hook for ~$100k support bill, I would be expecting them to fix their mistake.

That is why we require licensing of lawyers isn’t it? To ensure the ‘quality’ of service provided?

10 Jim Collins 01.02.13 at 10:41 am

Hugo,
Is the state ignoring the marriage, or is it because under the law it doesn’t exist and they have no other choice? If the State tries to make Bauer pay support, can’t she refuse because there is no law requiring her to do so?

Is there an agreement between States to recognize marriages from other States? If so, wouldn’t this be covered in that agreement?

11 Hugo S. Cunningham 01.02.13 at 2:47 pm

@Jim Collins–

My impression is that Kansas didn’t even ask Bauer for support, that they are for political reasons going after a sperm donor rather than the person who contracted to support the child. But I know nothing beyond the newspaper article.

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