Friday, November 30, 2007

Women Exploiting Men

That is all I could think of when I read this story over at Leonard Link.
A lesbian couple is suing their sperm donor for child support, for a child who is now 18 years old. As much as I believe that fathers should be involved in their children's lives, and that fathers should be held accountable to support their children, the facts of this case bother me:
Nassau County Family Court Judge Ellen R. Greenberg has ruled that a married male doctor who allegedly donated sperm more than 18 years ago to a lesbian medical resident at the hospital where he worked who wanted to have a child with her same-sex partner, who is also a doctor, may not deny paternity in a recently filed child support proceeding, even though he claims that he was assured that he would have no support obligations when he agreed to donate the sperm. P.D. v. S.K., Docket No. U-2725-07 (Nassau County, N.Y, Family Court, Nov. 16, 2007) (to be published in NY Law Journal on Nov. 29)....
The mother is identified in court papers as P.D., the alleged father as S.K., and the child, a boy now 18 years old, as K.K.

... S.K. stated that he had agreed to be a sperm donor at P.D.’s request. "He submits that while he was married at the time, he agreed, based upon numerous promises that he would have no rights or benefits in raising the child, nor any financial responsibilities," wrote Judge Greenberg. S.K. provided the sperm to P.D.’s partner, who performed the insemination. The child was born in 1989.

S.K. indicated that he allowed his name to appear as father on the birth certificate, because he "felt it was in K.K.’s best interests that he would have an identity when he grew older." S.K. acknowledged that from K.K.’s birth until 1993 he had contact with the child, but in that year the lesbian couple and child moved to Oregon, and S.K.’s contact dropped off to occasional phone calls and one meeting for a few hours three years ago. S.K. did send gifts, cards and letters to the child on special occasions, signed "Dad" or "Daddy," and also made some monetary contributions to P.D....
Judge Greenberg ... noted that "the child has never known anyone other than the respondent as his father, and that the respondent has sent him money, gifts and cards which are signed either ‘Dad’ or ‘Daddy.’ Therefore, the burden shifts to the respondent (the father)..."

"Here, the respondent concedes that he has sent cards, money and gifts over the last fifteen years and that he allowed his name to be listed on the child’s birth certificate as the father because he ‘felt it was in the child’s best interests that he would have an identity.’ Further, the respondent has held himself out as the child’s father. Allowing the respondent to deny paternity after eighteen years where the child has believed the respondent to be his father would have a traumatic effect upon the child and would be contrary to his best interests."...
The court sent the case back to the Support Magistrate for fact finding on child support "based on the mother’s earning capacity, the reported income of her live-in partner as appropriate, and the current income of the respondent." Since the "child" is already 18, one speculates that perhaps the reason the support order was filed now was in order to enlist the father’s financial contribution to his college education. (Addendum: This speculation was confirmed in the NY Law Journal's November 29 article about the case.)

The problem with this case is the on-again, off-again nature of the mother's inclusion of the father in the child's life. The initial claim was that the mother would never ask for child support. The mother moved away, making a relationship with the father nearly impossible for the child. The mother is asking for the father's financial involvement because she needs it for the child's college tuition.
This seems to me to be the woman exploiting the man. She got what she wanted: the opportunity to raise a child with little interference from the child's father. She used him as a sperm bank. Now she is trying to use him as a wallet.
Let me be clear: the problem with this case is NOT the fact that the mother has a lesbian partner. I would dislike this behavior just as much, if the mother were a single mother without a partner of either sex. Come to think of it, it might even be worse if she had acquired an opposite sex partner, and had come back after all these years to ask for child support....

4 comments:

Jake said...

I left a message using the judge's phone number here... hopefully the judge gets it. If any of you guys follow suit, make the call civil. I wouldn't want to mess with a judge.

http://www.nycourtsystem.com/Applications/JudicialDirectory/Bio.php?ID=7030202

Anonymous said...

Marquis Layette fought in the American Revolution at the age of 19. This eighteen year old "child" is going to be traumatized by a DNA cheek swab test? This judge should be impeached.

Anonymous said...

I mean LaFayette.

That Lesbian Down The Street said...

Huh... Well, I do agree that it's a very strange thing to demand the father's financial support to send KK to college, after the couple had already raised the boy and kind of ignored the father.
But in this specific case, I do have to say that SK was asking for it.

I say that, because SK had contact with the child until the couple moved, and afterwards, repeatedly sent the child gifts, cards, gave money to PD, etc etc.
If I were PD, I'm sure I would be struggling with gratification for this man allowing my partner and I to have a child, and severe annoyance stemming from his inability or unwillingness to stay out of the child's life, as agreed.
It could be that this gesture is meant as a sort of...
"Want to raise the kid? Want to be a father? Fine, here's your chance."

Anyways, that's just my opinion. Not so much exploitation, I think, as an admittedly unusual form of payback - via which the profiting party is a college hopeful, I might add.