Paternal rights may be first step to child custody

Every year throughout the state of Utah and beyond family law disputes play out over the rights of biological fathers. And while every case is unique, those involving sperm donors can be particularly complex and emotional for everyone involved. Even though the dispute is a long way from being settled, one Hollywood actor may choose to seek child custody of his biological son now that an appeals court has granted him the right to pursue paternity rights to the boy.

One California State family law guideline specifies that the biological link between a man and a child does not automatically determine paternity rights in a case. The law was designed to combat the issue of sperm donors being pursued for child support payments, as well as safeguard women that conceive through alternative methods from being confronted by donors seeking paternity rights. And while the statute has played a significant role in several major court judgments through the years, a state appellate court judge has found that the mandate is not applicable in all instances.

While the appeals court judge did agree that a biological link alone is not enough to argue paternity, he found that sperm donors should have the opportunity to prove a familial bond with the child that they are seeking paternity rights to. After all, he claimed that the policy is not appropriate in cases where the man donates sperm in hopes of having a child with a partner outside of wedlock.

By deciding that paternity rights can be granted by establishing that there is a relationship between the biological father and child, the appeals court judge overturned the ruling of a Superior Court judge who decided that actor Jason Patric had no claim to a child conceived through in vitro fertilization using his sperm.

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