Define Father

Tolstoy once said, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”father and son

Tolstoy was wrong, at least he’s wrong in the twenty-first century.  Each family has its own individual quirks and are a lot more diverse than the idealistic nuclear family.  The laws have not reflected this change.

A same sex couple put an ad on Craiglist for a sperm donor.  Later, the couple broke up and one of the women demanded child support from the donor.  And surprisingly, the court agreed that she was owed child support.  The ruling was based on several factors, one of them being that the donation was unorthodox.

While the Craigslist is an unusual case, it is not, the court system seems to have an unusual definition of what a father is.  In Michigan, a man was almost was put into jail because he did not pay child support for a child that wasn’t his.  However, Michigan viewed the man as the father since the mother has listed him in her welfare benefits.

Biology is not always the answer in what a state views as paternity.  Other factors such as the relationship the man has with the child’s mother and the relationship that the man has with the child are significant.  In Texas, there is a presumption Of paternity if the parties are married at the time of birth or up to 301 days before the child was born.

It is important for parties to be aware that they might be viewed as the father, even if they did not have a sexual relationship with the mother.