Judge Rules Woman Has No Parental Rights For Son She Raised With Ex-Wife, But Sperm Donor Does

An Oklahoma judge ruled on February 13 that a woman had no parental rights to a son she raised with her ex-wife but that the sperm donor for the child has a legal claim as the father.

Kris Williams was married to Rebekah Wilson when Wilson gave birth to a baby in August 2019, per People. Williams was listed on the child’s birth certificate as “second mother,” the publication notes. But everything got complicated after the pair split up. 

The ruling says that Williams intentionally chose a known sperm donor when she decided to have a child “in order for the minor child to know and have a relationship with his biological father.”

Wilson agreed to a “Known Sperm Donor Agreement” with sperm donor Harlan Vaughn. The document stated that she would “conceive and raise a child,” and that “Wilson and the ‘conceived child’ would constitute a ‘family,’” per court documents.

The documents further state that Wilson and Vaughn “participated in several at-home, non-medically assisted inseminations” in December 2018 which resulted in Wilson getting pregnant with Vaughn’s biological child.

Next, Wilson and Williams married on June 1, 2019, while Wilson was still pregnant and Williams was aware of that fact. Williams was present at the baby’s birth and the child was given the last name of Williams. Vaughn was not at the birth, but was notified, the documents say.

The filing also notes that Williams was an active part of the child’s life until November 2021, which is when Wilson filed a Victim Protective Order against Williams, citing “domestic abuse and harassment.” It was at this point that Wilson took the child and moved in with Vaughn, the child’s father.

Wilson filed for divorce from Williams in December 2021 and shared in the filing that the pair did not have any children, but that “there is one child that was born during the marriage, however, the alleged/biological father has held himself out as the father for approximately the last year and a half, the minor child knows his biological father and his biological extended family.” It was also noted in documents that the child called Vaughn “dad.”

One reason the Oklahoma judge ruled in favor of the biological father is that Williams failed to pursue legal adoption while she was still married to Wilson. 

“Williams, through her testimony and exhibits presented during the trial, admitted that she and Wilson discussed adoption. Furthermore, Williams admitted she knew that under Oklahoma Law she needed to adopt the minor child to establish parental rights,” Oklahoma County District Judge Lynne McGuire wrote in her decision. 

“The reality is that the law provides a legal remedy available to Williams. She knowingly chose not to pursue it.”

In 2022, Wilson gave birth to another baby with Vaughn. They all still live together, People noted. “The minor child now has a sibling that lives with him in the family home,” the judge stated in her ruling.

Williams’ lawyer plans to appeal the decision, claiming it’s discriminatory against the LGBTQ community. Robyn Hopkins argued that same-sex couples shouldn’t have to pursue legal adoption to be considered parents. 

“What happens when you’re in the middle of an adoption, but the two of you decide to separate? You have to be happily married because you need the birth mother to consent to the adoption,” Hopkins said.

“But also, what happens if you can’t afford an adoption or don’t know how to do it or if you don’t believe in marriage? There’s tons of straight people out there that do paternity cases, and they’re not married.”

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