When custody laws can't keep up

Actor Jason Patric and his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber, conceived a child by in vitro fertilization. Now, Patric wants to be recognized as the boy's father. (Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn)

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Actor Jason Patric's custody battle could set a legal precedent with implications for many parents, including sperm donors, surrogate mothers, LGBTQ parents and step-parents. We're asking: is the law keeping up with the changing nature of families?


In one respect, Jason Patric's story is quite simple. He's a father fighting for access to his son, Gus. But Patric and his ex Danielle Schreiber are Hollywood actors. And Gus was conceived through in vitro fertilization.

This is just one area where some say custody law has become outdated, and fails to reflect the many types of families that now exist -- not just in the U.S., but in Canada as well.

"And that tension...is what the courts were struggling with. This is a case not just about Jason Patric and Danielle Schreiber...this case really is about what is the definition of family?"

Jonathan Handel, contributing editor at The Hollywood Reporter

  • Jonathan Handel is a contributing editor with The Hollywood Reporter and an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles.
  • Naomi Cahn teaches law at George Washington University. She's also the author of Test Tube Families and The New Kinship: Constructing Donor-Conceived Families.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.

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