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Do Sperm Donors Pay Child Support in Florida?
The short answer is no. But before you stop reading, it gets more complicated. If a sperm donor has a legal relationship with a child, they may have child support obligations.
Parent vs. Donor
Florida law differentiates between a parent and a donor. Parents have automatic rights unless there’s a reason to terminate those rights. A parent is assumed to want to be a part of a child’s life, so they’re required to provide for that child.
Intent is another way to establish a parental relationship. Regardless of the biological material provided to conceive, a person can establish parental rights when they have the intent of being a parent to a child. This can occur even before a child is born.
A donor, on the other hand, is assumed to have no intention of being a part of the child’s life. So a donor has no responsibility to provide financial support for a child. However, if a donor takes any action that could be seen as taking a step toward parenting, then they may be required to provide child support.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Most states require sperm donors to sign away their parental rights. Florida, however, is a bit different. By making a sperm donation, a donor relinquishes all parental rights and responsibilities relating to any children who may be born from their donation.
If a donor wants to retain parental rights, they can do so through a preplanned adoption agreement. When a donor wants to retain any parental rights, they need to think long and hard about this process, as it can have lifelong consequences. Even if the donor later decided to not have a relationship with the child, they may still be on the hook for child support.
There are only a few ways a parent can waive their parental rights in Orlando. Florida law allows for different scenarios to terminate parental rights. One way is to voluntarily surrender parental rights. But because courts want to ensure children have both emotional and financial support, this isn’t always a way to terminate a donor’s child support obligations. The financial obligations of parents will continue unless the court decides the child is better off without any support or contact with a parent.
Donors and Child Support
In 2014, a Kansas court ruled that a sperm donor had to pay child support for a child that resulted from their donation. Because Kansas law is different from Florida, where donors are presumed to give up rights, the Kansas donor entered an agreement where he specifically gave up parental rights.
The couple that received the donation later divorced and the parent who received custody of the child sought to receive child support from the donor. This case turned on the fact that the donor did not go to a facility to make a donation; instead, all parties agreed to handle this matter themselves. Kansas law states that any such donation must be done under the supervision of a physician. Ultimately, a court ruled that the donor must pay child support.
This case highlights some of the complexities and nuances of donors and their parental rights and responsibilities. While Florida law assumes donors have no rights or responsibilities as it relates to any child conceived from their donation, it’s possible that a donor could have some intent that could spark a court to require child support.
Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in Orlando, FL
Child support issues are complex, time-consuming, and emotional. Let a trusted legal advocate help you with your matter in Orlando. Contact the experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at McMichen, Cinami & Demps today for legal assistance. Contact our Orlando, FL office at (407) 898-2161 to schedule a free consultation.