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Ruling in one celebrity paternity dispute may set precedent

To this day the legal rights, or lack thereof, of biological fathers continue to be debated in cases involving sperm donors and in vitro fertilization. And while legal guidelines are in place in Illinois and other states across the country to address issues relating to paternity in such cases, their interpretation can have a significant impact on court rulings everywhere. One recent ruling to come from an appeals court may influence similar judgments in the future, since it allows for sperm donors to seek paternity rights in some cases.

According to one California statute, a sperm donor cannot proclaim paternity rights to a child based on their biological connection. The law addresses the issue of potential child support claims being filed against sperm donors and also allows women to conceive with in vitro fertilization without the influence of donors. A California appellate court judge recently found, however, that state guidelines do not apply in all cases.

According to the appellate judge, the statute is not appropriate in cases where a man donates sperm with the intent to conceive a child with his unmarried partner. Instead, determining paternity rights in such instances should involve establishing whether or not the biological father has a parental relationship with the child.

The recent appeals court ruling was in response to another judgment made by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge who found that actor Jason Patric could not claim paternal rights to a child that was conceived by his ex-girlfriend using his sperm. Once the dispute returns to trial court, Patric will now have to prove that he has a relationship with his biological son.

Source: Hollywood Reporter, “Jason Patric Allowed to Seek Legal Paternity of Child in Landmark Ruling,” Eriq Gardner, May 14, 2014

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