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“Turkey Baster” Conception Raises Child Custody Concerns

An interesting story out of Virginia made international headlines when a father won joint custody after his son was conceived by a turkey baster.

Robert Boardwine, friend of the child’s mother Joyce Bruce, agreed to supply Bruce with semen. She had every intention of raising the child on her own. He, on the other hand, wanted to be involved in the child’s life.

Boardwine and Bruce’s arguments eventually led to a five-month period of silence, during which Bruce gave birth to a child. After a few “strained” visits, Bruce requested that Boardwine not visit the child. Subsequently Boardwine took Bruce to court.

Establishing Paternity

In order for the case to proceed, it was first necessary for Boardwine to prove that he was indeed the biological father of the child. This was particularly crucial, as Bruce had sought alternative fertility treatments in the past.

In situations of questionable paternity, mothers or fathers of children can ask for a “paternity action.” This type of court suit is filed to have a man declared officially the father of a child.

In this situation, Boardwine took a DNA test, which proved that he was certainly the father of Bruce’s child. While in most scenarios this would be enough to establish paternity, what makes this particularly interesting is the method that was used to conceive a child.

In the event that Boardwine had supplied Bruce with sperm that was inserted into a device considered to be a piece of “medical technology,” he would not have been awarded any rights to the child. However, given that a turkey baster was used, Boardwine now has rights to his son.

Protecting Your Rights as a Parent

This case highlights the importance of understanding the legalities and consequences of the actions one takes, particularly when it comes to children. Nothing is cut and dry, and often a number of legal issues will come into play in terms of determining paternity, custody and child support.

This is a “one in a million” type of case which is unlikely to hit international media waves any time soon, but it does serve as a great reminder as to who has child custody rights, and under what circumstances.

Our experienced family law attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel have helped hundreds of mothers, fathers, and other family members understand their custodial rights and continue to defend the best interests of the children and their parents.

We welcome your call today to discuss your custodial rights inquiry at (858) 935-6211.

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