After a four-year legal battle, Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi ruled that Topeka sperm donor, William Marotta, is not the legal father of the young girl conceived via his donation.
The State of Kansas argued that since Marotta was the biological father, he was responsible for child support. Conversely, Marotta’s attorney, Charles Baylor, argued that his client never wanted parental responsibilities. After responding to a Craigslist ad looking for a sperm donor posted by same-sex couple, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, Marotta signed a contract which waived his parental rights.
Judge Mattivi concluded that Bauer and Schreiner, who separated in December 2010, are required to pay child support since they are co-parenting. Instead of Marotta, Bauer, the non-biological mother, was declared the child’s other legal parent.
Following Judge Mattivi’s ruling, Baylor announced, “It’s a great victory for Mr. Marotta.” He added, “We’re very gratified by the decision.”
In Judge Mattivi’s ruling she touched upon the “lack of professional services” used by the former couple during the insemination process. Rather than going to a medical facility, Bauer and Schreiner chose to do the insemination in the privacy of their own home. Judge Mattivi noted, “… they neither consulted a lawyer nor utilized the services of a medical clinic.”
The 1994 Kansas sperm donor statute requires that a licensed physician perform the artificial insemination. Without a physician involved in the process, the enforceability of the contract Marotta signed was questionable.
However, Luke Ranker of the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Judge Mattivi’s ruling cited ten compelling reasons as to why Marotta should not be considered the child’s legal father, despite noncompliance with the statute.
In her common-sense decision, Judge Mattivi addressed that Marotta did not have any parental relationship with the child and he had not displayed any fatherly post-birth behavior, as well as the fact that introducing a new parent into the child’s life at this juncture would be confusing and potentially detrimental.
This recent ruling is considered a groundbreaking and great decision by those in the legal community because of its logical conclusion. Although Marotta is the biological father of this child, the fact that the court respected the parties’ intent that he not be her legal parent is commendable.