Divorced Dad Argues Support As Children Not Biologically His Must Pay, Says Court
Denver, CO (Law Firm Newswire) February 28, 2013 - An Indiana appeals court ruled a man must provide financial support for the children born during his marriage, even though he is not their biological parent.
The court upheld an earlier ruling that the two children, born in 2004 and 2006, were children of marriage.
In 2010, the husband filed for divorce, acknowledging that both children were born to his then-wife within the span of their nine-year marriage. However, he stated, the children were not his biologically, due to fertility issues the couple experienced, so he claimed he was not responsible for financially supporting them. The man had a vasectomy several years prior to the marriage, and a family friend donated his sperm for artificial insemination.
The then-husband reportedly approved, and two children were eventually conceived. As the appellate court stated, the then-husband raised and supported the children in a manner consistent with raising and supporting biological children. The couple separated in 2009, and the husband shared custody.
"The husband is considered the legal father of children produced within the marriage, not the sperm donor, in 32 states," says Denver child custody lawyer Bill Thode. "When a child is produced via a sperm donor, almost every one of those states requires proof of written consent to the sperm donor conception by the husband, before holding him liable for child support, or they will assume that consent is implied if he does not raise an objection within a certain time frame."
But, after the divorce was filed, the husband stated that he did not know about the artificial insemination or consent to it. He also refuted the claims of his wife regarding how often he spent time with the children during their formal separation. He stopped visiting the children months prior to being granted the divorce.
A judge granted the divorce, but stated that the man had consented to the artificial insemination, had raised them and supported them, and was, for all intents and purposes, the father of the children. The man argued the findings and the child support order that was handed down by the court, but the judge ruled that he had an obligation of support.
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