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Landmark ruling allows Jason Patric to continue custody fight

A California appellate court recently ruled in favor of Jason Patric; thus allowing him to continue his fight to seek custody of his 4-year-old son Gus that he conceived with ex-girlfriend Danielle Schreiber. The baby was conceived using in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and the facts of the case make it an interesting discussion on the limits that putative fathers have in establishing custody and parenting time.

Patric and Schrieber dated nearly a decade ago. They tried to have a baby back then, but they learned that natural conception would not be a possibility for them. In 2008, however, it is reported that Patric notified Schreiber that he was willing to donate his sperm on the condition that it would be kept anonymous, since he was not yet ready to be a father. Schreiber acquiesced and used the sperm to get pregnant. The couple’s child was born in 2009.

Despite his ambivalence to being a father, Patric developed a relationship with the boy, but that relationship was cut off in 2012. When he filed a petition to establish custody based on his biological relationship, Schreiber’s counsel cited a 2005 California Supreme Court case holding that a sperm donor was precluded from establishing paternity based on such a relationship.

Nevertheless, the appellate court ruling is important because it clarified the intent of the statute at issue. Essentially, the court ruled that while Patric may be barred from establishing paternity based on his biological relationship, he is not prevented from establishing that he is a presumed parent based on the familial relationship he has built.

The case, while it has received national press, may be instructive for similar cases in Nevada.

Source: Hollywoodreporter.com “Jason Patric allowed to seek legal paternity of child in landmark ruling,” Eriq Gardner, May 14, 2014

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