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Mary works as a maid for billionaire investor Maxwell Baron III. They live in New York. Mary always dreamed of marrying rich. However, perhaps because of her modest family background, no millionaire seemed to pay attention to her.

One day, while cleaning Mr. Baron's bathroom, Mary finds a used condom in the trash bin. Her mind starts to race. "What if I use this condom...," she ponders. Knowing that this would be her only chance to have a billionaire baby, she inseminates herself with Maxwell Baron's sperm.

Nine months later, the baby is born. Mary immediately sues Mr. Baron for child support. Baron orders a DNA test to determine the baby's paternity as he is confident that the result will come out negative. Surprisingly, however, the test turns out to be positive. Mary is now asking for 20 million dollars in child support for baby Maxwell IV.

What are Mr. Baron's options?

  • Side comment: it is not true that any Las Vegas Hotel Cleaner ever manged to do this. It was only a satire: snopes.com/fact-check/hotel-cleaner-used-condom – Trish Sep 20 at 23:28
  • I’d like to know about the legality of stealing sperm to get pregnant, without the motive of getting money, but just to become pregnant without consent of the sperm theft victim. Is that in itself legal? – gnasher729 Sep 21 at 7:45
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If we restrict ourselves to legal options, he can hire a lawyer, which is what he should have done rather than "ordering a DNA test". As a general rule, the minute you get served with a lawsuit, you should hire an attorney, especially if you are a billionaire. He should not volunteer to get in this position by volunteering for the test. But given that he did let it get this far, and now it is a legal fact that he is the father of the child, his newly-hired attorney would try to put the best face on this mess that he can. It's not a foregone conclusion that a child would be entitled to $20M. Also, is that per month?

The amount that the court would order depends on the particular state's law. I assume this is in Washington state since you didn't say otherwise (subsequent change of venue notwithstanding). The calculation is based on a maximum joint income of $12,000 per month. The mother cannot just quit her day job: the courts can impute income to her. I assume that she makes $3,000 per month, which is a low-ball figure. His obligation would be about $1180 / month, which works out to be about a quarter million total over the life of the support order. The courts do not have the authority to award $20M, nor do they have the authority to order a lump sum. They can award $1180, and this can be increased or decreased depending on circumstances.

The attorney would also argue that he is legally not the father, because under the law, this is "assisted reproduction" since it does not the result of sexual intercourse, and mere sperm donors are not legally deemed top be parents.

Incidentally, the benefit of "marrying rich" are distinct from the benefits of a rich baby-daddy. Child support is for the support of the child, not the benefit of the mother. The attorney could therefore persuade Mary to accept a lesser amount, no questions asked, to dispose of the problem. The net financial benefit of this dumbass scheme is probably substantially negative for her. A third option is to hire detectives to prove that this was a fraudulent action, which would lead to her imprisonment.

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    Just wondering - how do you reach the conclusion that the action is fraudulent? I believe that requires lying about something, and there's no indication in the question that Mary would misstate or conceal what happened. – Nate Eldredge Sep 20 at 18:23
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    She has to lie to get the legal proceeding started: so actually it is perjury (w.r.t. her court statements). This being fantasy, I don't know what representation she made that got Maxwell to submit to the procedure in the first place, but it had to be something. – user6726 Sep 20 at 18:39
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    What lie do you think she would have told? Why can't she simply say "I had a child, and Maxwell is the biological father"? Both those statements are true. She could even describe the manner of the child's conception. I think the point of the question is whether that would have any bearing on Maxwell's liability. – Nate Eldredge Sep 20 at 18:40
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    It may be necessary to swear that the pregnancy was not "assisted reproduction", since sperm donors are not deemed to be parents. That means "not by sexual intercourse". I don't read a particular intent into the question, so I don't make the same assumption of OP intent. But then, I'm a textualist. – user6726 Sep 20 at 19:09
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    @grovkin A court would demand to hear, especially as Maxwell III swears he never had intercourse with her, and his attorney should ask Mary on the stand "is it not true that Maxwell III and you never had intercourse?" Any answer other than "He never had intercourse with me" would be perjury, and answering truthfully would break Mary's case. – Trish Sep 20 at 23:22

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