Recommendation for KD contract lawyer in upstate NY? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 04-17-2010, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DW and I are trying to find a KD for our next cycle, and while we work on asking people, we also need to find a lawyer who would have experience in creating contracts for this kind of thing.

We know NY doesn't enforce these kinds of contracts, just post-birth severing of parental rights, but we still need to cover our butts as much as possible. One of our possible KDs would be going through our fertility clinic, which I know holds more weight than the other 2 KDs we have contacted which would be home AI.

Thanks,
K & R
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#2 of 7 Old 04-17-2010, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, for our KD1 (clinic KD), can anyone recommend wording to include a clause that we can't go crazy and deny him access to the child, while still ensuring that his parental rights are severed?

With KDs 2&3 we don't know them and don't want them involved in our lives except maybe a card with a picture here and there. So most of the sample KD contracts online will suffice (no rights or responsibilities, period). But for KD1, since he's a friend and someone we would want involved, we'd want to basically say that if we go crazy, we can't a) sue him for child support and/or b) run away with the kid(s), and if he goes crazy he can't sue for custody. Is it all or nothing with KD contracts?

Thanks,
Kate
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#3 of 7 Old 04-19-2010, 02:16 AM
 
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Our KD is a good friend, "uncle" to our kids, part of our extended chosen family, and our contract that we drew up for conceiving child #1 did deny him all rights and responsibilities. (And his parental rights were terminated for #1, and the plan is the same for #2, where we didn't do a contract). If you're going to go through with a termination of parental rights anyway, it doesn't make sense to me to to try to come up with some interim legalistic language that could only complicate things at the point where you'd want to start the second parent adoption process (potentially within a year!) if your kd has second thoughts or becomes too invested in having some sort of legal relationship.

In these ways of creating families I recognize that situations are different, but to me, the building blocks of involvement of a kd in a kid's life are trust, mutual respect, and lots and lots of conversation, not the legal or legalistic language. I have known of a couple of situations that have gone sour, causing lots of heartbreak and expense, and from my admittedly biased perspective, something like court-mandated visitation until age 18 or so is much more risky and life-changing for a two-mom family than the threat of denying access is for a kd (which could be heartbreaking if he thought of himself as a dad to the kid, but he wouldn't necessarily have to stay in one geographical place and otherwise be legally compelled to structure his life around proximity to a legal adversary).

Sorry I didn't answer your question, though! We are in upstate NY, and have a lawyer for 2nd parent adoption and wills and things, but I'm not sure if she has experience with known donor contracts--if you pm me I can pass on her name so you can check if you'd like.
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#4 of 7 Old 04-20-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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Hi-
Our vision for our KD is for him to act as a family friend (maybe even "uncle" if that happens organically). The contract we are using is very clear about him having no rights or responsibilities, but we are including a clause (which we got from someone else online) about him having a potential relationship with the kid. with that said, our lawyer is reviewing this right now and may make us take it out - so take this with a grain of salt. if you PM me i can share with you our final product once we have it - we are indebted to the many other queer families who shared their contracts with us and we took bits and pieces from all of them.
i agree its better for legal purposes to go with no rights and then build a relationship from there.
here is our (draft! non-lawyer approved!) language from that particular clause:

THE DONOR agrees that PARENT ONE and PARENT TWO may tell the child(ren) that THE DONOR donated sperm and is a biological parent to the child(ren). THE DONOR agrees that should all parties determine it is in the best interest of the child(ren), that a friendship could be formed between THE DONOR and the child(ren). As is true with all friendships a child forms, THE DONOR’s friendship with the child(ren) is subject to parental review. All parties recognize that THE DONOR is not the child(ren)'s parent, however due to the unique relationship THE DONOR may have with the child(ren), it is hoped that any such friendship initiated by the child(ren) or PARENT ONE and PARENT TWO, would be open and cordial. This relationship may become similar to the relationship a child has with an uncle or close family friend.

Hope this helps!
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#5 of 7 Old 04-20-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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Also, for our KD1 (clinic KD), can anyone recommend wording to include a clause that we can't go crazy and deny him access to the child, while still ensuring that his parental rights are severed?

No. I wouldn't do that - and didn't, in our contract. The idea behind our contract is that it is predicated on making sure that the donor's parental rights can be easily terminated and that I will easily assume full and sole parental rights to my child.

Here is why: It's not necessarily "going crazy" to deny him access to the child. What if you have very good grounds upon which to do so?

Lots of people end up divorcing or separating from their spouses and would like to be able to keep their kids safe from the other parent, but cannot, because of hir legal status. You would be putting yourself, your partner, your child, and your donor in that same legal position, were you to have language like that in your contract.

For example, say your KD showed up drunk to pick up your child. Would you allow your child to go with KD in a car? Would you want KD around your child? Under a contract with a "no interference" clause, you would have to.

The language citygirl suggests isn't actually a no interference clause. Something like that is fine, but legally redundant and unnecessary. Our contract has similar language, the only purpose it serves in my contract is to state that the donor's relationship to the child may resemble a familial relationship, but does not constitute a parental relationship.

A donor/child(ren)/parent(s) relationship is based on so much more than a contract. The contract is just the legal CYA part. You can't capture all the complexity and nuance of that relationship in a contract, that relationship can't be built on a contract, it has to be built on trust and friendship and a commitment to working out disagreements. And you can't contract that.

SPBC Finally a Papa! Elise Ember Soleil - 10/3/10 - 4:09 AM - 6 lbs 8 oz My daughter eats donor milk! Human milk for human babies!
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#6 of 7 Old 04-21-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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thanks, papa, for saying it so well. in reading your post i am actually thinking we should maybe remove our draft language about the "special uncle" relationship from the contract and do a separate cover letter that talks about the warm and fuzzy part (which i think is something close to what stephanie brill suggests.)
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#7 of 7 Old 04-21-2010, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I like that a lot--using a cover letter. With KD1, the fertility clinic has a contract specifying intent and giving him donor status, as if this were an anonymous donation, but we'll still be looking to have a similarly worded contract signed by all parties, not just the donor and the clinic. This way we can include the warm & fuzzies in the cover letter.

Thanks,
Kate
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