Children are the apples of their parent’s eyes. Most parents will do their utmost to ensure that their children are well cared for. However, when a married couple with children files for divorce, issues such as who gets custody of the children and who is obligated to pay child support arise. These issues are more complex when reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination are utilized.

Michigan residents interested in exploring reproductive technologies to conceive may find the following story interesting. A man is arguing that he should not be obligated to pay child support to his now ex-wife for two children who were conceived during their marriage through artificial insemination techniques.

The couple married in 2001 but explored artificial insemination because of the man’s prior vasectomy. A family friend donated sperm in 2004 and 2006. Using artificial insemination techniques at home, the couple had two children in those years. When the couple separated in 2009, the father had equal visitation with the children and financially helped the mother. In 2010, however, he filed for divorce and argued that he did not voluntarily consent to the artificial insemination, the sperm was not his thus the children are not biologically his and he should not be responsible for child support payments for the two children from the marriage.

Both the trial and appellate courts ruled against the father, holding that the children were conceived during marriage and therefore both parents are obligated to support the children.

The issues which surrounded the case above are unique. Generally, during a divorce proceeding with children, depending on the custody arrangement, the non-custodial parent will be obligated to pay child support to the custodial parent. In Michigan, child support is calculated based on state guidelines and includes incomes of both parents. Nevertheless, when child support dispute arises or a change in circumstance take places which may prevent the non-custodial parent from meeting their monthly child support obligation, it may be helpful to seek the advice of an expert in this area of law to assess options.

Source: ABC 10 News, “Dad claiming artificial insemination negates his child support responsibility faces setback,” Jan. 15, 2013