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Same-Sex Couple vs. Sperm Donor in Child Visitation Battle

BY IN Custody

Same-sex couples looking to have children often consider turning to services like adoption or in vitro fertilization. What’s out of the ordinary is when a sperm donor demands that he has parental rights.

Jermaine Walker is locked in a court battle with Dian Stephens and Connie Brown over a nine-year-old girl. Walker and Stephens were married when Stephens gave birth to the girl. But Stephens and Brown say Walker was nothing more than a sperm donor, who agreed to marry Stephens so that she could get on his health insurance plan during the pregnancy. They also say Walker knew that they had been in a committed relationship for some two decades by the time the child was born.

Stephens and Brown told MLive they gave Walker a $60,000 Mercedes Benz and financial assistance to help rebuild his credit in exchange for his agreement to serve as sperm donor. They said he also agreed to voluntarily sign away his parental rights.

Walker argues that he was in love with Stephens and married her with no strings attached. He also said that, as the child’s biological father, he has the right to have a relationship with the girl.

Child Visitation, Custody Issues in Michigan

The case is just one example of how complicated child custody and visitation questions can be for parents in Michigan.

The central question in child custody and visitation cases is: What’s in the child’s best interests? State law generally presumes that a child’s best interests are served by having a strong relationship with both parents. Parents who are willing to work together to reach an agreement can avoid a lot of time, stress and court costs by coming up with an arrangement that satisfies everyone involved. Unfortunately, not everyone always agrees about what’s best for the child.

It’s important for anyone in a child custody dispute to build a strong case. That means documenting your involvement with your child and focusing on doing everything to maintain a stable living environment. It also means maintain a civil relationship with the child’s parent.

Speak With a Grand Rapids Family Lawyer Today

If you’re grappling with child custody and visitation or other family law issues, it’s vital that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney. A seasoned family law attorney will help you understand your rights and weigh your options while guiding you step by step through the legal process.

The Grand Rapids family lawyers at Kraayeveld Law have been assisting clients throughout Grand Rapids for more than a quarter of a century. Our lawyers combine decades of experience in complex matters to help people efficiently untangle their marriages. We pride ourselves on taking a personalized and strategic approach, understanding each individual client’s circumstances and needs.

We are conveniently located at 300 State Street SE in Grand Rapids. Call 616-285-0808 or contact us online to make an appointment to speak with a Grand Rapids family lawyer about you situation.