Jason Patric Calls Court Ruling 'Surreal,' Wants to 'Continue to Be a Dad' (Video)
UPDATED: The actor and his lawyer appeared on Thursday's "Good Morning America" for an exclusive interview the day after a California appeals court gave him the right to claim parentage of his 4-year-old son, conceived through artificial insemination.
Just a day after a California appeals court gave Jason Patric the right to claim parentage of his 4-year-old son, Gus, conceived through artificial insemination, the actor called the victory "surreal" and expressed hope that he would be able to continue being a dad.
"It was just surreal," Patric said of the decision on Thursday's Good Morning America. "It's been 64 weeks since I've seen Gus, and I always believed that we were going to win this appeal because it was just wrong, the decision. And I had faith in the process."
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The actor has been batting ex-girlfriend Danielle Schreiber over custody of Gus. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge previously denied Patric access to his son, based on California law that grants the mother full custody unless there is a written agreement establishing parental rights before conception.
On Wednesday, California appeals court judge Thomas Willhite said that the presumption against in vitro fathers shouldn't be "so categorical," and that family law "does not preclude a donor from establishing that he is the presumed father." The case is now remanded back to the trial court and Patric's attorney said that they plan to go back into court next week to get the actor's visitation rights reinstated, before continuing their fight for custody.
The actor said on GMA that it "haunts him every night" that he hasn't been able to see Gus in so long, after telling his son he'd see him the next day.
"In his mind I just disappeared," Patric said. "I didn't tell him the truth. And it's something that I deal with every day."
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When asked whether he wants to be a dad, Patric argued that's what he'd been doing and wants to continue to do.
"I have been a dad and I'm going to continue to be a dad," he said. "You can't ever abandon a child."
Although the case has drawn nationwide attention, partly for its implications for sperm donors, which Schreiber characterized Patric as after the two split up, Patric's lawyer, Fred Silberberg, was reluctant to say that the actor's victory would make a difference for donors.
"He's not a donor," Silberberg said of his client on GMA. "That's the issue. We've never said Jason's a donor. He didn't donate sperm in that sense. He went to a clinic with Danielle in order to have a child together, so we don't want to characterize him as a sperm donor in that sense. But the issue is the law has now been clarified by the court of appeal, and in fact changed, and these two competing statutes that created this problem have now been reconciled. And that could have a ripple effect across the country because so many states have the same statutes in effect."
Watch video of Patric and Silberberg's interview with GMA below.