Guaranteeing that children are cared for is legitimate, but contracts matter.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a woman who promised a sperm donor he would not have to pay child support cannot renege on the deal.
“Where a would-be donor cannot trust that he is safe from a future support action, he will be considerably less likely to provide his sperm to a friend or acquaintance who asks, significantly limiting a would-be mother’s reproductive prerogatives,” Justice Max Baer wrote in the majority opinion issued last week.
Like so many things, the ability to enter into a contract does not necessarily include the ability to competently enter into a contract. That does not mean the competent party must be held retroactively responsible for the poor decision by the incompetent party. Courts should not provide an “oops” clause not found in the original contract.
Also from the article:
A county judge said it was in the twins’ best interests that McKiernan be required to support them. In addition to monthly payments, McKiernan also was ordered to come up with $66,000 in back support. The appeal reverses that order.
If the law can ignore a valid contract, why not rule that it’s in the twins’ best interest that Brad Pitt be required to support them? I’m sure he has more money, and I bet the twins might enjoy hobnobbing with Hollywood celebrities. That would be no less based in fact than the county judge’s actual order.
Justice J. Michael Eakin, in a dissent, said a parent cannot bargain away a child’s right to support. “The children point and say, ‘That is our father. He should support us,'” Eakin wrote. “What are we to reply? ‘No! He made a contract to conceive you through a clinic, so your father need not support you.’ I find this unreasonable at best.”
Children have a right to support from parties obliged to support them. In this case, that’s the mother. So, yes, we are to reply “No! He made a contract to conceive you through a clinic, so your father need not support you.” I find this reasonable. The facts are what they are.