Husband A and Husband B were married four years ago. Both men were deeply committed to becoming fathers, so they began discussing the possibility of having children through surrogacy.
Two years into their marriage, they signed an agreement with Family Fertility Clinic. The agreement specified that Husband A and Husband B were the intended legal fathers to a child. The child was to be created using sperm from Husband A, an egg from an anonymous donor, and a gestational surrogate.
The surrogacy proceeded smoothly, producing a baby girl. Husband A and Husband B were both listed on the child’s birth certificate, and they brought their newborn daughter home with them as soon as she was released from the hospital.
Earlier, the two spouses had agreed that upon the daughter’s birth, Husband A would resign from his job as a teacher to be a stay-at-home father. Husband B earned a higher salary as an architect, so he agreed to become the household’s sole breadwinner.
Additionally, the daughter was diagnosed with some physical disabilities as an infant. Husband A took charge of organizing her care and taking her to several specialists. With early interventions, the specialists hoped to minimize, or even eliminate, the impact of the disabilities.
Shortly after the daughter’s first birthday, Husband A and Husband B decided to split up and filed for a no-fault divorce. The two agreed for Husband A to have physical custody of their daughter, while Husband B would have visitation rights.
Initially, they also agreed about child support and memorialized Husband B’s child-support obligation in a separation agreement. Under the agreement, Husband B would pay $5,000 per month in child support to Husband A until the daughter reached majority. Husband B would also commit to pay half the daughter’s college tuition for four years. The family court overseeing the divorce approved the separation agreement and incorporated it into the divorce decree.
Husband B made the agreed child support payments for six months, but then requested modification of his child support obligation for two reasons. First, he argued that because he was not the girl’s biological or genetic father, he was identified as her legal father in error. Accordingly, he should not have to pay child support at all.
Second, Husband B explained that he had begun a new relationship with someone living in a city about two hours away. Husband B recently resigned from his job, to move closer to his new partner. He thus requested that the court reduce his child support obligation, to take into account his unemployment.
Finally, Husband B argued that Husband A was employable as a teacher, and Husband A’s potential income as a teacher should be taken into account in calculating how much support Husband B owed.
- Is Husband B likely to undo his previous identification as the father of Husband A’s daughter? Explain.
- Is the court likely to modify Husband B’s child-support obligation, based on the resignation and relocation? Explain.
- Is the court likely to modify Husband B’s child-support obligation, based on Husband A’s potential employment as a teacher? Explain.