The Department for Children and Families has been attempting to collect child support from the man, and sued him, after he denied he had any parental rights or responsibility, claiming he was merely a good Samaritan by helping a couple who wanted a child.
As presumptive father, he could be responsible for paying child support, but the question of actual paternity has yet to be litigated. The man has stated they will appeal the district court opinion. That case will go to the Court of Appeals and it is likely that any decision of that court would be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
The district court in this case appears to have used straightforward interpretation of the statute. The court notes that because the parties failed to follow the requirements of the law, by “enlisting a licensed physician,” the private contract is not sufficient to terminate the father’s parental rights and responsibilities.
It is unclear if the parties understood the law involved and whether the same-sex couple had obtained any legal advice when deciding on the process they would use to conceive a child.
Because of the significance of decisions relating to paternity, parental rights and child support, we urge anyone dealing with these issues here in Oklahoma to speak with an attorney first. As this case shows, the failure to do so can be very expensive.