Joplin

It is an indisputable fact that the majority of people, aged between 10 and 60 will understand the reference above, and one that a certain father may have been somewhat able to identify with, when he was recently informed by, albeit not a half-giant, but rather the High Court, that he was in fact a father.

I am referring to the father in the matter of Masson & Parsons & Ors, a family law High Court matter which was recently determined. The matter involved a man, lets call him Harry, who agreed a number of years ago, to be a sperm donor for a female friend of his, let’s call her Luna. Harry did so, on the express understanding and condition that once the child was born, he would play an active role in the child’s life, a role of that of father.

And this he did. The child grew up knowing Harry, and called Harry “dad.” However, after several years Luna entered into a relationship with another lady. Together the women decided to move from Australia to New Zealand with the child. Harry did not consent to this and commenced proceedings in the Newcastle Family Court seeking Orders prohibiting the relocation.

Luna opposed Harry’s application, on the basis that Harry did not have any right to make an Application for parenting Orders, as he was simply not a parent, but rather, a mere sperm donor. In the first instance the Trial Judge, Her Honour Justice Cleary found in favour of Harry’s position and found that he was in fact a father.

Luna then appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal found in favour of Luna and overturned the Judgment of the Newcastle Family Court. Harry then appealed the Court of Appeal Judgment to the High Court.

The High Court determined that Harry was in fact a father, and determined that accordingly, he was able to make an Application to the Court for parenting Orders. Orders were ultimately made restraining Luna and her partner from relocating with the child.

In making this decision the High Court noted a number of factors which lead to the determination that Harry was a father, but primarily, the fact that the word “parent” should be given it’s usual, understood meaning.

Despite the seeming simplicity of just giving a word “it’s usual meaning”, the law surrounding surrogacy and sperm donor matters is not simple or straightforward.

If you have a legal issue involving such matters it is highly advisable that you seek expert legal advice. Our family lawyers are very knowledgeable in this emerging area of law. If you could benefit from our knowledge, give one of our offices a call today, on 4934 6800 or 6572 2442.

For now however, I will leave you all with an appropriately adjusted meme.

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