Berman & Asbel, LLP

Parents ordered to pay child support to surrogate

Pennsylvania parents who wish to have children but cannot may decide to turn to a surrogate. However, the laws surrounding surrogate contracts in many jurisdictions are vague. One couple, who hired a surrogate in 2008, found this out when the surrogate decided to keep the child and the couple ended up being responsible for paying child support.

According to the couple, they paid a 22-year-old married woman to be a surrogate. Using the husband's sperm and the surrogate's egg, a baby girl was conceived. When the surrogate was three months pregnant, she stopped talking to the couple although they continued to pay for her medical care. The surrogate did not contact the couple when the child was born.

When the couple attempted to go to court, the judge did not know what to do about the contract, arguing that contracts could not be made on human lives. As a result, the couple was given joint custody of the child, which has since been withdrawn. They were also ordered to pay $459 monthly in child support. Despite the court order, the couple has been unable to see the child over the last six months. They stated that they had spend more than $90,000 in legal fees attempting to get custody of their daughter.

In Pennsylvania, the legal parents are responsible for financially supporting their child. This often results in one parent paying child support. However, if one parent refuses to allow the other parent to visit the child or maintain a relationship with the child, an attorney may help the other parent either reduce the child support payments or seek custody of the child. The attorney may help gather evidence demonstrating that the other parent has refused to allow them to have a meaningful relationship.

Source: People, "Heartbroken Parents Left Paying Child Support After Surrogate Keeps Their Baby Girl: 'I Spend Every Day Thinking of Her,' Says Mom", Caitlin Keating, March 7, 2016

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