If a woman gives birth to child after she and her husband separate, the husband can still be held financially responsible for the baby. This was the case of a Massachusetts man whose estranged wife gave birth to twins after an in-vitro fertilization involving donor eggs and donor sperm.
According to court reports, in 2001, the wife threatened to “withdraw her support for his citizenship application” unless he consented to the procedure. The husband agreed to the IVF procedure provided that she signed an agreement that he would not be have to pay child support for any children she gave birth to. The couple separated shortly thereafter.
The court ruled that the father was still financially responsible for the children, twin girls born in 2003.
While the in-vitro procedure took place the couple after was separated, the decision to have the children occurred while they were still together. The Massachusetts Appeals Court said, “Simple consent to the procedure is enough to confer parental status.”
It is wise for fathers to understand their rights when it comes to having children. This includes whether they will be required by law to provide financial support them even when they are no longer in a relationship with the children’s mother.
Some divorce attorneys specialize in different types of family law, including paternity and child support. In this case, the man would have benefited from legal advice before continuing to give his consent to his wife’s in-vitro fertilization treatment.
This case began in 2006 when the wife decided to pursue child support for the twin girls.
Source: Boston Globe, “Court says father owes support, despite deal,” Peter Schworm, Mar. 7, 2012