Family Matters: Good deed leads to bad debt

 It’s said that no good deed goes unpunished, and that appears to be the case for Kansas resident William Marotta, who simply wanted to help a couple fulfill their dream of having a child.

Craig’s List can be used to solicit, sell, and advertise a variety of wanted items, and apparently sperm is one of them (good to know).  This is how couple Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer got in touch with Marotta and arranged for him to provide his donation in 2009, which he did free of charge. Schreiner and Bauer worked off of the “DIY” method and did not utilize any type of medical assistance in order to conceive their daughter, who was later born as a result of Marotta’s donation.  
 Everyone involved wanted to be smart about the situation, and the parties signed a contract stating that Marotta did not have any parental rights to the child and was not financially responsible for her, which only seems fair, right?  Wrong. Because the couple later separated and Kansas law doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, only the biological mother (Schreiner) could be held legally responsible for the child. When Schreiner later needed government assistance, the State of Kansas sought out the father in order to have him help support the child.
 Government agencies routinely come after the non-custodial parent for child support when the other parent receives assistance, and rightfully so. If there is a parent out there who could provide for the child, and/or reimburse the state for monies spent on the child, the state will make every attempt to locate him or her.
One of the most unusual aspects in this case is that had the former couple utilized the services of a doctor for the insemination, Marotta would not be liable under Kansas law. Apparently Kansas is taking the position that Marotta and Schreiner could have conceived the child the old-fashioned way, whereas if they had used a doctor, it would have solidified that he was a sperm donor and nothing more.  
Marotta said he had no idea that the couple wasn’t using a doctor, but I find that a bit hard to believe – he was trolling on Craig’s List for a place to donate his sperm and he naturally assumed that those same individuals would be using medical assistance when he directly provided the product requested?  That’s a bit sketchy, at best.
Marotta is appealing the decision, as one would expect. He probably imagined good karma coming his way for his donation, and instead he was hit with a lawsuit.
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Marie Matyjaszek is a family law attorney whose blog site is http://legalbling.blogspot.com. She can   be reached by e-mailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.
 

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