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Sperm donor's
estate to pay child support to lesbian couple

Sperm donor's
estate to pay child support to lesbian couple

The estate of a now-deceased man who donated sperm to a lesbian former couple will be required to pay child support, a Pennsylvania state appeals court found last week.

The couple, Jodilynn Jacob and Jennifer Lee Schultz-Jacob, were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2002 after having lived together for six years, according to the Associated Press. During that time, Jacob gave birth to two children with the help of Carl Frampton, a longtime friend, and she also adopted her brother's two older children.

When their relationship fell apart in 2006, Jacob took the children and moved out of the house. While dissolving the union, a court awarded Jacob about $1,000 per month in child support from Shultz-Jacob, who lost an effort to have the court force Frampton to contribute support, the article said. Schultz-Jacob appealed the case, and the Pennsylvania superior court overturned the lower court's ruling on April 30.

"Part of the decision came down because he was so involved with them," Jacob told the AP Wednesday. "It wasn't that he went to the [sperm] bank and that was it. They called him Papa."

However, Frampton's sudden, fatal stroke in March provides a hurdle for the case's legal counsel. In the court's written opinion, Judge John T. J. Kelly Jr. said the decision was based on Frampton's spending thousands of dollars on the children, including toys and clothing.

"Such constant and attentive solicitude seems widely at variance with the support court's characterization of [his] having 'played a minimal role in raising and supporting' the children," Kelly wrote.

According to the article, the children, ages 7 and 8, were aware that Frampton was their biological father and they attended his funeral. Attorneys fighting on his behalf argued, during the trial, that only two adults can be held liable for support in a child custody case. Shultz-Jacob's lawyer called for Frampton's Social Security survivor benefits to make up for retroactive payments.

The Pennsylvania supreme court is currently considering a similar case in which a sperm donor, who was ordered to pay $1,520 in monthly child support, wants to enforce the promise made by the mother that he would not be involved in the child's life. (The Advocate)

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