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Do You Think You Can Just Sign Away Your Parental Rights and Responsibilities in New Jersey? Not So Fast

A child custody case from Kansas is drawing national attention. Why?  Because the child was conceived using artificialbaby_questionmark8468 insemination and now Kansas is trying to force the sperm donor to pay child support.

The donor donated his sperm to a lesbian couple and signed a written agreement with them which, he thought, relieved him of his parental rights and responsibilities.  However, now that one of the ladies has become ill and applied for State aid, Kansas is demanding that he pay child support for the child.

Under the Kansas artificial insemination law, a donor can sign over his parental rights and responsibilities if the donation is done under the guidance of a licensed medical doctor.  Because the donor in this case did not use a licensed medical doctor to complete the artificial insemination, the State has argued that his written agreement is void.

It remains to be seen how the Kansas case will be resolved.  What is known, however, is that New Jersey has a similar Artificial Insemination statute and that in 2011 this statute was interpreted in the case of EE v. OMGR.

The facts of the New Jersey case were similar to the Kansas case, in that a woman asked her friend to be a sperm donor, they signed a contract in which the friend agreed to surrender his parental rights, but they did not use a licensed medical doctor.

The New Jersey Family Court concluded that the parties’ contract was not only invalid for that reason, but also because in New Jersey, the permanent termination of parental rights can only be accomplished by complying with the New Jersey statute which states that it can be done in only three (3) instances: 1) when a parent has been declared unfit; 2) an adoption has taken place; or 3) if the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly Division of Youth and Family Services) has removed a child from a parent.

Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey Divorce and Family Law matters, including Custody/Parenting Time and Child Support.

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