Sunday, January 25, 2009 - "NZ surrogate's Aussie child support row"

The Australian Government is demanding a Kiwi surrogate mother pay child support for the baby girl she had for a gay couple in Queensland, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Child support: NZ surrogates may be forced to pay Aussie child support

The one-year-old is being raised by her legal guardians - her biological father and his male partner. They gained child support benefits for the father to stay at home and care for her, but the authorities asked the surrogate to contribute, which she refused to do.

The case highlights legal difficulties around surrogacy, which is outlawed in Queensland and some other parts of Australia, but allowed in New Zealand.

Family law expert Professor Mark Henaghan at Otago University confirms that surrogates can be forced to pay Australian child support if their babies were not legally adopted and the intended parents claimed benefits.

"It's a blanket rule. The circumstances are irrelevant. If you are a parent, unless someone adopts a child, you are the legal parent," he explains.

Gay male couples are unable to adopt in New Zealand and in most of Australia, which means the surrogate mother's name remains on birth certificates, preventing them from signing away legal rights to the child.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Star-Times has spoken to another Kiwi woman who will soon give birth to a child for a gay male Australian couple.

The 35-year-old Aucklander admitted she'd had some negative remarks from people, but is happy with her choice: "My father's a bit reluctant I'm having a baby for a gay couple. I didn't choose a gay couple, but I had to find the right couple and they were the ones for me."

[Link: Original Article]

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