Category: Paternity

Becoming Educated on Sperm Donor Rights and Responsibilities in New Jersey

Many couples dream of having a family, but unfortunately, it isn’t always possible without medical intervention.

Sperm Donors & Parental Rights in NJSingle women, lesbian couples, or couples where the male partner is infertile seek alternative ways to get pregnant, and they all require a sperm donor. Recent technological advances have made what seemed to be science fiction a few decades ago a viable and reasonably common solution to establishing a family. In response to the ever-changing reproductive panorama, New Jersey legislators have had to run to catch up with the changing times, creating laws to protect parents, donors, and children in this process.

Do Sperm Donors Have Parental Rights in NJ?

The answer to this question is complicated because the answer could be affirmative or negative, given the situation. If the husband agrees to use a sperm donor whose identity is known or unknown, and the procedure is under the care of a licensed physician, the husband is the father of the child, and the donor has no parental rights. The physician completes a form that certifies the couple’s signed consent, and that form is submitted to the Department of Health. Suppose a single woman uses a sperm donor to conceive, as long as the procedure takes place in the office of a licensed physician and the donor doesn’t submit a written request to be named the biological father. In that case, he doesn’t have parental rights. Recently, there was a case where their sperm donor sued a married lesbian couple in Salem County for parental visitation of their child. They had drawn up a document stating that the sperm donor would take no parental part in the child’s life. Unfortunately, the document wasn’t worth the paper on which it was written because a licensed physician did not conduct the insemination procedure. The couple fought the decision claiming that as a married couple, the baby should be considered their biological child. In 2016, their original judgment was overturned, and the sperm donor was removed from the birth certificate. This decision was hailed as a massive win for the LGTBQ community.

Rules For Being A Sperm Donor in New Jersey

There are certain rules that need to be followed to become a sperm donor. Donors must be no younger than 18 and no older than 38. Sperm banks follow strict guidelines when selecting donors who have to complete an extensive medical history form and family history. Laboratory tests of blood, urine, and semen will be done to clear the donor for STDs, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and others. Semen will be collected to test for quantity, quality, and movement. Donors also undergo genetic testing to ensure there are no known genetic conditions and provide details regarding the medical history of at least two generations (grandparents) to determine the possibility of hereditary diseases. Some fertility clinics also do psychological evaluations to discuss any concerns or reservations donors may have. Lastly, each donor’s file usually includes a personal interview about interests, talents, education, and hobbies. Once the approval process is complete, the sperm donated by a candidate is frozen for six months while the second round of lab tests and another physical exam is done at around month 5.

Legal Responsibilities for NJ Sperm Donors

Sperm Donors, Parental Rights & Family Lawyers in Brick, NJThe most important responsibility of a sperm donor is honesty when completing the interviews and tests at the donor clinic and when signing any documentation regarding the relationship held between themselves and the recipients. Sperm donors cannot be married, and any deception that is later discovered could affect the baby’s parentage. For example, in the case of Rendon v. Ale, the court determined that the biological father was the legal parent of the resulting baby created from his sperm even though he had written a Resignation Letter of Obligations stating that he had no interest in the child. He and the child’s mother were in a relationship, even though they both were married to other people. They filled out two consent forms, and on both, they stated that they were not married to anyone. After several attempts, the Plaintiff became pregnant with twins. She and her husband separated, and she filed for child support from the Defendant (the sperm donor). He wanted to dismiss because he had resigned his rights as a parent during the insemination process; however, when the doctor testified that the couple had misled him, the judge granted child support for the Plaintiff saying the defendant wasn’t required to participate in the children’s lives if he saw fit, but he was required to provide for them to the tune of $1,000 per month.

How to Avoid Paternity Issues with Sperm Donorship in NJ

In a nutshell, to avoid sticky paternity situations, follow the rules. Don’t lie to the doctor who is caring for you about your relationship with your partner or a sperm donor (if you have chosen one directly). Don’t cut financial corners by conducting an insemination procedure without a doctor present. Most of all, hire a lawyer before you do anything.

Seek Legal Help from a Committed Parental Rights & Family Law Firm in Brick, NJ

It is always exciting to start a family, but sometimes plans get derailed due to infertility. Technology has advanced at a break-neck pace, and we can now receive treatments and procedures that were only dreamed of a few decades ago. If you consider being a sperm donor or looking at assisted reproduction, you now know your rights and responsibilities. Contacting an attorney is the next step in this process.

The Bronzino Law Firm provides its clients with exceptional, compassionate representation. You want to do things the right way following New Jersey Law to accomplish your dream of having a child. Our firm values each client and recognizes their unique needs. We serve individuals and families in Colts Neck, Jackson, Beach Haven, Toms River, and towns across Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

Contact our offices for your free and confidential consultation by calling (732) 812-3102 or requesting a free legal case evaluation by contacting us here. We are ready to help make your dreams come true.

How to Add the Father to a Child’s Birth Certificate in Monmouth and Ocean County, NJ

Our family lawyers can can help you navigate the process of adding a father’s name to a birth certificate in New Jersey, and offer critical information regarding determining paternity.

How to Add a Name to a Birth Certificate in NJ

In New Jersey, adding the name of the biological father to a child’s birth certificate is a direct procedure. To add a biological father’s name on a New Jersey birth certificate, three things must be provided by the mother to the Office of Vital Statistics within the New Jersey Department of Health (located in the state capital; alternatively, a mother can go to her child’s birth county’s Office of the Registrar). First, a mother must provide appropriate documentation. Required documents will be outlined later in the article. Second, a mother must provide proof that the person to be added to the birth certificate is the child’s biological father. Third, the mother must pay a fee. Refer to the section “What is the process for adding a name to a birth certificate?” for specific information about the birth certificate revision process.

Three Steps to Add a Father’s Name on a Birth Certificate in NJ

Signing the Birth Certificate and Establishing Paternity

For a father to be added to a child’s New Jersey birth certificate, there must be proof that that person is the biological father of the child. As such, as the biological father is named on the birth certificate, this is the establishment of proof of their paternity.

Providing Documentation Required to Add a Name to a Birth Certificate

The type of documentation required to add a paternal name to a child’s birth certificate depends on the mother’s partner status. One piece of documentation that is required regardless of circumstance is the Certificate of Parentage, which must be signed by both the biological mother and the biological father.

If a mother wishes to change the child’s surname to the biological father’s surname, she must submit a REG 60 form alongside other required documentation.

In addition to the signed Certificate of Parentage, additional documentation is required for changes to birth certificates. A signed Affidavit of Denial of Paternity must be submitted by the current or former spouse of a mother if they are not the biological parent of the child in question. An Affidavit of Denial of Paternity prevents the non-birth father from claiming paternity down the road. If the mother is no longer with this spouse, who, again, is not the biological father of the child in question, she must obtain a court order denying paternity from the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part, so this spouse is legally barred from claiming paternity in the future. If a mother marries someone after conception of the child, she must provide marriage documentation to the Office of Vital Statistics to prove that marriage occurred after the child was conceived, thereby releasing the current spouse from rights and responsibilities afforded to the biological father. If, however, the person the mother marries after conception of the child is the biological father, the mother must provide not only the marriage certificate showing that legal marriage occurred after conception of the child, but also a REG 35 form that allows the spouse to claim paternity.

Filing the Updated Birth Records in New Jersey

The Office of Vital Statistics within the New Jersey Department of Health is responsible for housing and updating birth records. All changes to a birth certificate must occur within the Office of Vital Statistics, either directly through their office in Trenton or via the county Office of the Registrar. A filing fee is required for completion of this process.

Pros and Cons of Changing a New Jersey Birth Certificate to Keep in Mind

There are a number of benefits to naming a father on a child’s birth certificate. First of all, a father’s parenting responsibilities will take effect, such as the requirement to provide child support. Additionally, a child can be covered under their parent’s health insurance and be a beneficiary of life insurance death benefits if they are named on the birth certificate.

On the other hand, there are some cons and difficulties associated with not having the biological father’s name on the child’s birth certificate. In addition to having responsibilities when named on the birth certificate, a father also enjoys certain rights, such as potential child custody and visitation rights. There are also cons to not naming a father — for example, certain registrations, including those for obtaining a passport, become more difficult when a father is not named on the birth certificate.

Is a Paternity Test Mandatory?

No paternity test is required to determine paternity for the purposes of adding a father’s name to a birth certificate; however, both biological parents must sign the Certificate of Parentage.

Amending a Birth Certificate in Ocean County NJHow Can a Lawyer Help with the Process of Amending a Birth Certificate?

Having the support of a parental rights lawyer can make a huge difference in the process of adding a father’s name to your child’s birth certificate. As noted, the addition of a biological father’s name means that they will enjoy certain rights and responsibilities that are likely of interest to you and certainly important for your child’s wellbeing. A talented family lawyer can help you walk through the somewhat complex and convoluted documentation provision process, depending on your circumstances.

Update Your Child’s Birth Certificate with Help from our Toms River Paternity Lawyers

Are you considering adding your name or your child’s biological father’s name to their birth certificate? At Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we understand what a difference having both birth parents on a child’s birth certificate can make for their present and future. Our paternity and family lawyers have a long history of helping clients in Point Pleasant, Marlboro, Tinton Falls, Manalapan, and towns throughout Ocean and Monmouth County navigate the Office of Vital Statistics process to ensure that their children’s wellbeing is served.

Contact us at (732) 812-3102 or use our online form for a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about paternity and birth certificate issues in New Jersey.