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Unusual child custody dispute has Minnesotans asking questions

In 2009, a man decided to help a lesbian couple conceive by donating his sperm. The man was responding to a Craigslist ad the couple had placed seeking a donor. Rather than go through a medical facility, the couple artificially inseminated one of the women themselves. Afterwards, the parties signed a writing in which the man relinquished all parental rights and responsibilities.

Now, a Kansas state agency has shocked the nation by telling the man he must now make child support payments. The state's position is grounded in the fact that the man is the biological father. Without formal records of artificial insemination, the man technically is liable for monthly payments under Kansas' child custody statutes. The case has caused a stir in Minneapolis and St. Paul as residents wonder the limits of the law.

The man, predictably, has asked the judge to dismiss the case. The practical fairness of paying child support in this situation does not add up. Nevertheless, we are all subject to laws that may not have kept up with changing family dynamics.

Fortunately, here in Minnesota, residents can expect to be treated fairly when it comes to family law. This is especially so in child support disputes. While failing to pay child support obligations could result in driver's license suspension or even jail, this is a drastic result.

Local St. Paul attorneys specialize in helping parents maneuver their way through the child custody and support landscape. Whether parents are getting a divorce or just looking to secure their parental rights, an attorney can educate them on the law, their rights and their choices. Then, the parent and their representatives can collaborate and determine a path that is in the best interests of the child.

Though few parents have such an interesting legal query as the man in Kansas, Minnesotans can rest assured that no matter how unconventional the parenting scheme may be, local attorneys know how to protect a parent's legal rights.

Source: MPR News, "Kansas Presses Sperm Donor To Pay Child Support," Bill Chappell, Jan. 3, 2013

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