Contracts are an interesting area of law. Contracts may be formal or informal, some oral contracts can be valid and contracts can be used for many purposes. One conjunction of family law and contract law is the divorce settlement. When you go to court in Illinois to enforce a term of the agreement, you are enforcing a contract term.
Family law and contract law may have unusual interaction, as the case of the man in Kansas who contracted to become a sperm donor for a same-sex couple. They wanted to have a child and placed an ad on Craigslist.
He answered the ad and put together a contract that stated he would not “assume parental obligations.” It is unclear from news reports if he was aware that he could be potentially obligated to pay child support for the child if a licensed physician did not perform the artificial insemination.
It also appears that he and the women did not consult with an attorney regarding the arrangement and whether the contract was likely to be found valid. This case illustrates the dangers of acting without legal counsel.
Unfortunately, the same-sex couple’s relationship failed and, even more problematic for him, the child’s mother seems to have turned to the state for support and the state, in turn, turned to the father to provide the child support. He denied he was obligated, pointing to the contract and calling the law “antiquated,” at a court hearing last week.
The court will issue a ruling by the end of the year, but it is likely the decision will be appealed, whatever the outcome.
Source: NBC News, “Kansas judge hears arguments in case of sperm donor sued for child support,” Jim Doblin and Matthew DeLuca, October 25, 2013