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Author Topic: Surrendering parental rights  (Read 1874 times)

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Offline AndyZTopic starter

Surrendering parental rights
« on: February 23, 2015, 08:44:23 PM »
This is kind of a weird one and probably going to be easily answered.

Should we allow someone to just surrender all rights to a child, never have to pay child support and things like that?

We already allow those with uteri to abort fetuses, and every state in America has a "safe haven" law for giving a baby up to the state with no questions asked.  Nebraska has apparently set up the safe haven law for as late as 19 years old.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/22/nebrasks-safe-haven-law-a_n_120757.html

It seems odd to me that we would force someone into child support payments who doesn't want to pay them while simultaneously allowing others to be rid of their fetuses/babies without issue.

Granted that I don't know a lot about this issue yet and probably don't fully understand all the legal ramifications.

Online Sethala

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2015, 09:17:25 PM »
I'm having trouble coming up with a very coherent argument on the issue, but I will say one reason I'm against just allowing it whenever either parent wants to give up custody is because raising a kid is expensive, especially if the parent is expected to not only work to provide stable financial support but also be available to raise the child.  Having someone who may not have very strong personal income suddenly going from relying on their partner to provide income to being a single parent is incredibly difficult.  A lot of this may come down to just how low our minimum wage is; if it were easier to find a job that actually paid enough to live off of, this might not be an issue at all.

However, I can also see a lot of cases where the payments are too harsh, and there's some completely insane rulings out there (something about a sperm donor being forced to pay child support because the mother inseminated herself without a physician was one story I saw in another thread), so... it's really a tough call.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2015, 09:35:19 PM »
Reminds me that I should clarify something about the CNN link I posted before: I'm not saying that the lesbians were bad people.  It seems to me like they made a deal with some random person and everything should have been fine, but the state came in and decided to nullify the agreement that had already been made between the consenting parties.

I'd equate that more with how it might be a good thing to give food to the homeless, but that doesn't always mean it's a good idea when the government gets involved.

It just seems odd to me that legally we accept the right to choose whether to be a parent for anyone with a uterus but not with testes.  If someone is pregnant and wants to have an abortion just because raising a kid is expensive, or give the kid up for adoption for the same reason, does it change your response?

Online Sethala

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2015, 09:38:28 PM »
No, but the assumption there is that both parents consent to the abortion/adoption, that neither one wants to raise a child for whatever reason.  With child support, the assumption is that one parent wants to have the child and raise it, so abortion/adoption isn't a possible solution.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2015, 09:42:47 PM »
No, but the assumption there is that both parents consent to the abortion/adoption, that neither one wants to raise a child for whatever reason.  With child support, the assumption is that one parent wants to have the child and raise it, so abortion/adoption isn't a possible solution.

Assumptions are exactly that.  The mother is not required to prove that the father is okay with the abortion in any way, and if they disagree, it's entirely up to her.  Depending on the safe haven law, whoever currently has possession of the child can bring him/her in.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2015, 09:46:49 PM »
Well, someone with a penis can abort a fetus or give up a baby for adoption "without issue" too.  (I use quotes because depending on the State, there may be issues even if you have a vagina.)

And someone with a vagina can be forced to pay child support as well.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2569555/Man-30-charged-murder-lacing-pregnant-girlfriends-pancakes-abortion-inducing-drug.html

http://nypost.com/2013/05/16/man-who-allegedly-tricked-pregnant-girlfriend-into-taking-abortion-drug-charged-with-first-degree-murder-for-death-of-fetus/

I'm going to say that being charged with murder is not without issue.

Don't even get me started on how it's suddenly a life if the father does it and not if the mother does it.

Online Sethala

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2015, 09:49:00 PM »
Assumptions are exactly that.  The mother is not required to prove that the father is okay with the abortion in any way, and if they disagree, it's entirely up to her.  Depending on the safe haven law, whoever currently has possession of the child can bring him/her in.

Abortion is weird because while both parents should have say over what happens to the child, the mother should have complete say over what happens to her own body, so I'm completely fine with saying that a woman can get an abortion even if the father of her child objects.

As for adoption however, I do agree that if one parent wants to raise the child, the other one shouldn't be allowed to put the child up for adoption (barring something like child services deciding that the other parent isn't fit to raise a child), and child support payments should be required, no matter which parent wants to raise the child.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2015, 10:24:42 PM »
Talking with Sethala outside the thread but I still leave this open for people to weigh in and all.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2015, 10:43:50 PM »
This is kind of a weird one and probably going to be easily answered.

Should we allow someone to just surrender all rights to a child, never have to pay child support and things like that?

We already allow those with uteri to abort fetuses, and every state in America has a "safe haven" law for giving a baby up to the state with no questions asked.  Nebraska has apparently set up the safe haven law for as late as 19 years old.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/22/nebrasks-safe-haven-law-a_n_120757.html

It seems odd to me that we would force someone into child support payments who doesn't want to pay them while simultaneously allowing others to be rid of their fetuses/babies without issue.

Granted that I don't know a lot about this issue yet and probably don't fully understand all the legal ramifications.

If a person (male or female) is surrendering their rights to a child, then no, they should not have to pay child support. They have relinquished all rights to that child. They cannot see that child, they have no say in how that child is raised, etc. If the remaining parent of the child (re)marries, the child can be adopted by the new spouse.

If the law were to be changed to say that child support could be ordered from the biological mother/father that surrendered all rights to the child, then people who gave their children up for adoption would be looking at having to pay child support for a child they legally gave to another couple.

As for abortion - a man does not have to carry the fetus, does not have to give birth. In a perfect world such a decision would be decided by both, but this is not a perfect world. Nor would it be fair to force a woman to carry a child she does not want because the man wants her to. 

Offline DarknessBorne

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2015, 12:37:01 AM »
I honestly don't see a way for the State to involve itself in this issue in any way that won't create more problems than it solves (no matter how noble the intentions).

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2015, 08:13:01 AM »
If a person (male or female) is surrendering their rights to a child, then no, they should not have to pay child support. They have relinquished all rights to that child. They cannot see that child, they have no say in how that child is raised, etc. If the remaining parent of the child (re)marries, the child can be adopted by the new spouse.

I didn't know you actually could surrender your rights to a child and get out of paying for child support that way.  If you can, that certainly handles the problem I perceived, though it makes me wonder why people who have this stuff come up don't just do that.  Thank you kindly.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2015, 10:06:47 AM »
  This is maybe a little off topic, but it kind of fits; when I saw this thread I immediately thought of something I'd seen/read about about a year or two ago. It was of some man that have donated sperm to a sperm bank, and the women that used their sperm to fertilize their eggs, sued the sperm-bank/fertility clinic to get the identity of the men so they would be sued to provide child support. I remember reading about the cases and I believe in one or two, the women won the cases and the men had to provide child support.  The cases struck me because I was always under the impression that sperm donors legally give up any parental rights, so they couldn't claim a child as theirs later down the road or be sued for child support later.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2015, 11:32:30 AM »
Well, the case Andy seems to enjoy using is the one of the lesbian couple.  Keep in mind the couple found this person on Craigslist, he came over to give his sample and sign away his parental rights.  According to Kansas law the donation had to be to a physician who would then provide insemination.  The court has no actual way to determine if the man slept with the woman and then regretted getting her pregnant or if he showed up with turkey baster in hand.  So before this becomes sensationalized into man-hate, realize the man in this case completely went outside the law of donating his sperm to a physician in order to help this couple.  The couple avoided  a physician so they would not have to pay for fertility costs, this includes testing of the sperm and donor for genetic problems and disease.  Kansas state law does, very explicitly, state that a physician must perform the procedure.

A sperm donor can also become part of a childís life even if anonymous.  Should the donor become known and take an interest in the childís life, they may make a claim to parental rights.  Keep in mind that the shift in thought here is for the best interest of the child.  So far as the court is concerned, two parents and two incomes is better than one all things being equal. 

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2015, 11:56:15 AM »
  This is maybe a little off topic, but it kind of fits; when I saw this thread I immediately thought of something I'd seen/read about about a year or two ago. It was of some man that have donated sperm to a sperm bank, and the women that used their sperm to fertilize their eggs, sued the sperm-bank/fertility clinic to get the identity of the men so they would be sued to provide child support. I remember reading about the cases and I believe in one or two, the women won the cases and the men had to provide child support.  The cases struck me because I was always under the impression that sperm donors legally give up any parental rights, so they couldn't claim a child as theirs later down the road or be sued for child support later.

If you know, how retroactive is it?  Can you sign something to that effect as soon as you find out you have a child somewhere and not have to worry about any sort of back payments or something like that?

Admittedly I don't know how it works.

Well, the case Andy seems to enjoy using is the one of the lesbian couple.  Keep in mind the couple found this person on Craigslist, he came over to give his sample and sign away his parental rights.  According to Kansas law the donation had to be to a physician who would then provide insemination.  The court has no actual way to determine if the man slept with the woman and then regretted getting her pregnant or if he showed up with turkey baster in hand.  So before this becomes sensationalized into man-hate, realize the man in this case completely went outside the law of donating his sperm to a physician in order to help this couple.  The couple avoided  a physician so they would not have to pay for fertility costs, this includes testing of the sperm and donor for genetic problems and disease.  Kansas state law does, very explicitly, state that a physician must perform the procedure.

A sperm donor can also become part of a childís life even if anonymous.  Should the donor become known and take an interest in the childís life, they may make a claim to parental rights.  Keep in mind that the shift in thought here is for the best interest of the child.  So far as the court is concerned, two parents and two incomes is better than one all things being equal. 


While we could blame the man because he didn't make certain that the women went to a doctor to get inseminated, I don't feel comfortable with the idea that we should make the man stick around and ensure that they take the sperm to a doctor so that he's off the hook.

We could also blame the lesbians for not going to a doctor, but I don't feel comfortable with that one either.  According to the article, a single attempt at artificial insemination can cost $3,000, and sometimes multiple attempts can be needed.  If they want to do it themselves, let them.

It makes a lot more sense to me that the two lesbians would be the legal parents than some guy who dropped off sperm and then left.

So, stupid law in my opinion.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2015, 12:18:31 PM »
Well one could argue that a one-night stand does exactly that.  Man shows up, has sex and leaves behind his sperm inside a woman.  Once more the court is not able to verify the difference.  A physician performing a procedure has documentation. He violated the law and so did the lesbian couple.  In an attempt to circumvent the law to save money, they opened themselves up to this repercussion. 

Offline Zakharra

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2015, 12:22:49 PM »
If you know, how retroactive is it?  Can you sign something to that effect as soon as you find out you have a child somewhere and not have to worry about any sort of back payments or something like that?

Admittedly I don't know how it works.


 As far as I know, when going through the clinics, the donors give up any parental rights (otherwise some men could be hit up for child support for dozens to possibly hundreds of children). It's to protect both sides (donor and mother).

 From what I remember, at least one case was an insemination done through a clinic, it was done properly and legally. Yet the women sued, and successfully, that he should pay child support because he was the sperm donor.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2015, 12:34:21 PM »
The two cases I could find regarding a woman suing a donor bank for identity were one in Massachusetts where the woman was denied her claim.  In this case the twin daughters born had a genetic problem and she wanted assistance in covering the costs.  The court ruled that she could not discover the donorís identity, but the father may have to answer questions regarding genetic issues.  The other case I found involved the pair of women filing suit over being given the wrong sperm of an African-American male.  I do believe that case is still in litigation. 

Exact law regarding sperm donation does vary from state-to-state.  Anonymous sperm donation is the most protected form of donation, but each state does have restrictions and laws in this regard.  Cases that fall outside of the defined perimeters are at the whim of the court.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2015, 12:39:07 PM »
Well one could argue that a one-night stand does exactly that.  Man shows up, has sex and leaves behind his sperm inside a woman.  Once more the court is not able to verify the difference.  A physician performing a procedure has documentation. He violated the law and so did the lesbian couple.  In an attempt to circumvent the law to save money, they opened themselves up to this repercussion.

Why would the court need to verify the difference?


 As far as I know, when going through the clinics, the donors give up any parental rights (otherwise some men could be hit up for child support for dozens to possibly hundreds of children). It's to protect both sides (donor and mother).

 From what I remember, at least one case was an insemination done through a clinic, it was done properly and legally. Yet the women sued, and successfully, that he should pay child support because he was the sperm donor.

Thank you.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2015, 01:10:14 PM »
Because if a man can simply show up, deposit sperm and leave then there is no reason for any man to ever pay child support.  The court has to be able to determine whether the woman was using a sperm donor and as such the donor has all the legal rights and protections, or if this is some guy who had sex with them and is trying to get out of parental responsibility.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2015, 01:17:38 PM »
Let's flip this to check for gender bias.  Let's say that a woman, out of the kindness of her heart, accepts the sperm from a gay couple and carries a child to term for them.  They don't use a doctor, and similar situations happen as happened to the lesbian couple.  Should the woman be forced to pay child support?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2015, 01:22:55 PM »
Like this case?

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2015, 01:31:11 PM »
Slightly different, Oniya.  In this one, she actively wants to be in the lives of the children, whereas in the other, he didn't.  In either case, though, custody should be with the couple, not the donor/surrogate, at least as I see it.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2015, 01:49:08 PM »
Well, for one flipping the situation does not check for gender bias.  When dealing with reproduction there is a great deal of difference in who does the work.  A woman that carries a baby to term does have the authority and ability to challenge for parenthood.  She is taking the risk, she is taking the inconvenience, and her participation in the childís life is already displayed.  Keep in mind that one of the main determinations of custody is participation in the childís life and an investment in their welfare.  A mother that carries a child has already shown both those qualifications in the eyes of the court.  So flipping the table does not highlight gender bias, but enter the argument into an entirely different realm of legal precedent and obligation.  Once more Andy you are forgetting the Courtís focus is not on punishing someone for having sex, but on providing for the child.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2015, 02:03:06 PM »
Wait, so even if everything is properly and contractually bound, and the gay couple give semen over to a woman as a surrogate, she can then decide to keep it and the gay couple has to fight in court to get their child?  That's really messed up.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Surrendering parental rights
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2015, 02:03:48 PM »
No, it's really not.

But at this point I am going to bow out.  Andy you are far more interested in crying victim than actually discussing anything about equality.  So just consider me out of these discussions.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 02:05:12 PM by Pumpkin Seeds »