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Can one wild child support dispute set the tone?

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In the vast majority of cases, a child support dispute can be resolved at the trial court level and doesn't need to be appealed to a higher court. In one peculiar case that has made national headlines recently, that probably won't be the case.

According to reports, a trial court judge in Kansas has ruled that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple must pay child support. The facts of the case are interesting, but the man may feel like he is in over his head now. The reports indicate that the man responded to the lesbian couple's ad on the website Craigslist - an ad that requested a sperm donor. The man donated some sperm free of charge, and the lesbian couple reportedly carried out the artificial insemination at home. A child was born from the procedure.

Then, after the lesbian couple separated, the one who was the biological mother of the child applied for state aid. It was the state that then tracked down the sperm donor.

Cases with wild factual scenarios like this usually garner a significant amount of national media coverage. While there are interesting issues presented, with implications for the ever-evolving science of artificial conception, hopefully stories like this don't make Maryland residents think that every child support issue is a circus. For the most part, parents can come to their own agreements on what amount to pay and when. But, even when an agreement can't be reached, court decisions are based on the facts presented to the court - facts that come from the parties. So, making sure that the right facts are presented, or rebutted, is what will ultimately determine who will pay child support and in what amount.

Source: CNN, "Kansas court says sperm donor must pay child support," Chandrika Narayan, Jan. 24, 2014

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