Sperm Donor Involved in Kansas Lawsuit for Child Support

In 2010, a lesbian couple placed an ad for a sperm donor on Craigslist in the state of Kansas.  Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer wanted to have a family and thus needed someone to donate sperm to do so.  When William Marotta responded to the ad, he agreed to be the donor with the stipulation that he would not be involved in the child’s life in any way.  To ensure he would have no connection whatsoever with the child, Marotta signed a contract waiving parental rights and responsibilities.

Schreiner became pregnant with the donated sperm and gave birth to a baby girl.

Unfortunately, three years after the birth of the child, Schreiner and Bauer separated, and the two now share custody of their three-year-old daughter. 

After separating, one of the two women became ill and could not financially support the child.  Schreiner, as the girl’s birth mother, applied for state health insurance for her daughter, but to receive aid from the state of Kansas, she needed to reveal the name of the sperm donor.

Unfortunately for Marotta, although he signed a contract waiving his parental rights, which, he thought, included any financial responsibility for the child he fathered, the state of Kansas disagreed and has sued him for $6,000 in back child support. 

Kansas not only does not recognize same-sex relationships, but because the sperm was not artificially inseminated by a licensed physician, the state also contends the contract Marotta signed is invalid.

Only Marotta and Schreiner, the birth mother, are parties in the lawsuit.

Attorneys for both Marotta and Schreiner argue that Bauer should be fully involved in the financial support of the child since she signed the sperm donor agreement as well.  They have asked a judge to consider Bauer as a full-fledged participant in the case. 

The attorneys cite a recent Kansas high court case,  Frazier v. Gouschaal, which established that a non-biological mother of children in a same-sex relationship has the same rights as a biological mother.

Marotta’s attorney filed a motion last week asking the court to make Bauer a “necessary party” or dismiss the case.  He also argued Kansas should recognize Bauer as the legal parent of the girl, not Marotta.  Schreiner as the birth mother, does have legal custody of the child, but cares for the child in the evenings with Bauer caring for her during the day.  The former couple has drawn up a parenting plan for their child, and if approved by the state, would resolve those legal  issues of custody and child support.

Marotta’s attorney also claims the case is political in nature and said, “The state will do anything to push their traditional notion of families and suppress any non-traditional type of parenting.”