A high school classmate of mine was approached 5 years ago by a lesbian couple to father a child with one of them. They did not involve lawyers at the time. He did the deed with one of them and 9 months later, a little boy was born. Prior to that, they wrote out a document, just in plain language (like I said, no lawyers or even legal templates were used) in which he stipulated he would give up all parental rights, and they would not seek child support. All three signed the document and they also had witnesses attest by signature. Two copies of the document, worded the same, were printed and signed so each party has a copy.

All three were making a decent living at the time.

Then came COVID and one of the ladies was laid off and has not been able to find work since. The other one was recently also laid off and is now on unemployment. They have contacted the father and told him he has to start paying child support, including all back owed.

Can a father abrogate his responsibility of child support at all? Is he now required to pay and also pay what he owes prior?

I'm not asking about the parental rights/visitation in this question to keep it more focused.


1 Answer 1


The first step is for the parents of the child to seek a court order for child support. This would be based on your friend being the actual father, and the non-mother not having adopted the child (extinguishing the obligations of the father). Many states, but not Michigan, have adopted the Uniform Parentage Act which covers assisted reproduction, but even in those states, this does not constitute assisted reproduction. The "agreement" is legally invalid (surrogate parentage contracts are unenforceable), and that, folks, is why you should hire an attorney rather than devising a legal theory on your own.

This article summarizes the various paternity laws of Michigan. Under the Paternity Act, this may be a child born out of wedlock, if the child is

a child begotten and born to a woman who was not married from the conception to the date of birth of the child, or a child that the court has determined to be a child born or conceived during a marriage but not the issue of that marriage

where the meaning of the last expression would have to be determined by the court. Probably the court would say "this child is not the 'issue' of the marriage", given legislative intent. Under the Acknowledgment of Parentage Act, unmarried parent can by signing a statement "define" the parentage of a child, but the statute is specifically limited to a man acknowledging paternity, and cannot apply to a lesbian couple.

The clearest statement of the law of parentage for lesbian couples in Michigan is Lefever v. Matthews where (just one year ago) the court held that both of two women were parents – but in that case, the eggs came from one of the women and they were implanted into the other woman. An important distinguishing feature is that in this case, the woman at a statutory disadvantage sought parental rights, whereas your question is about a legal parent seeking to avoid a legal obligation to the child. Courts generally do everything possible to protect a child's right to support by the parents. The prospects that an actual father could avoid that obligation are slim.

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    I think this is all correct, but I'd add that retroactive support might not be necessary; depends on the state and the judge. The ladies need to get a support order, and it might be valid only from that point on. If I was him, I'd respond by requesting visitation rights, and make noises about shared custody :) Commented May 20, 2022 at 18:19

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