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Sperm donors and child custody in California

Assisted reproductive technology has opened up a world of legal issues for family law courts. While it has provided couples -- both heterosexual and same-sex -- the opportunity to become parents, it has also pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a parent. In many cases, the use of this technology has led to interesting child custody questions and disputes.

In a very-public California case, actor Jason Patric is involved in a complicated child custody battle with his ex-girlfriend. The two used in vitro fertilization in order to conceive a child. The couple now has a four-year-old son together. However, the mother of the boy, Patric's ex-girlfriend, claims that Patric only donated sperm to her and there was never any intention that he would be the boy's father.

Patric, on the other hand, claims that he should be allowed to have a relationship with the child. He said he was allowed to develop a fatherly relationship with the boy after his birth before his ex-girlfriend denied him access to the child.

Traditionally, California law does not give sperm donors any parental rights to children conceived with that sperm. However, in this case, the sperm donation was followed by a paternal relationship. Recently, the court ruled that Patric should have the opportunity to prove in court that he should have a relationship with the child. The court will then decide if it is in the child's best interest to allow Patric to have visitation rights with the child.

While this is an unusual case, child custody disputes always have the potential to get complicated. People only want what is best for their child and emotions often run high. In these situations, people should make sure they understand their legal rights so that their relationship with their children is protected.

Source: Fox News, "Jason Patric closer to be reunited with son," May 18, 2014

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