Patric child custody ruling could affect others in Pennsylvania

Family law cases can be as individual as the people involved. There are times when a child custody case impacts more than just the parties involved. A recent child custody case thousands of miles away could have a ripple effect in Pennsylvania. The case involves actor Jason Patric and his quest to be a dad to his biological son.

Patric agreed to act as a sperm donor to a woman who was once his girlfriend, and the two now have a four-year-old son together. However, Patric was never listed on the birth certificate, as the arrangement only covered his involvement as a sperm donor. He and the woman at one time developed a relationship that entailed Patric acting as the boy’s father for a period of time. Eventually, the woman decided to cut Patric off from being a parent and having any kind of visitation since the relationship between them had ended.

While visitation was taken away at one point, a court of appeals has decided that he can legally pursue visitation even though he was technically just a sperm donor. Experts warn that this decision could impact women who ask a man they know to act as a sperm donor, as that man may be able to pursue paternal rights in the future even after agreeing not to act as a dad. For those who use anonymous sperm donors, the decision does not appear to have impact as far as can be determined.

Any quest for child custody can be contentious and entail complicated legal avenues. When the case is out of the ordinary, it could set a precedent that impacts others, helping those who may not have had a precedent setting case on their side before. When either party in a child custody case in Pennsylvania can’t come to an agreement on their own, the courts may need to step in and negotiate an agreement that works in the best interests of the child and also protects the rights of the parents involved.

Source:, “Actor’s custody case ruling may impact other dads“, , May 17, 2014