Tag Archives: unmarried parents

The Problem With Hierarchies of Parental Rights

I’m returning to a theme I’ve written about before here.  I’m doing this for two reasons.  First of all, before is about four years ago and many readers may not have been readers then (or if they were, they may have forgotten about this).   In addition, I am a different person today than I was then (then being 2010) and so perhaps I have something different to say.

In fact, I think the same thing has moved me to write today as moved me to write in 2010:  Michael H vs. Gerald D.   I won’t discuss it in any detail here.  You can read the opinions (though it’s not an easy slog) or you can read the earlier posts about it.   But for today’s purpose a quick outline will suffice.

Carole was married to Gerald.  She had an affair with Michael.   She got pregnant and Victoria was born.   Victoria is (let us assume, as it was a 98% likely proposition) genetically related to Michael.   Carole and Victoria live for a time with Michael and for a time with Gerald, but eventually it seems that Carole and Gerald reconcile and settle down.   Continue reading

More on UT and Unmarried Fathers–This Time With The Marital Presumption, Too

Here’s a fairly recent UT opinion that lies right at the intersection of two lines of conversation here.   You could think of this as one more UT unmarried father case.  (There have been a whole series of those discussed here over the years.  One was the topic of yesterday’s post.)   But it is also a case about the marital presumption–something we’ve all been discussing fairly recently.

It is somewhat surprising to me that I have come across several marital presumption cases in the last months.   I don’t know if this is chance (that I ran into them), chance (that the topic came up in different states) or some sort of meaningful pattern.  Whatever it is, I can assure you that I’ve put up posts on all I have come across–I am not selecting to make a particular point.

That said, there’s nothing terribly surprising about the UT decision.   UT has a strong preference for having children raised by married couples.  (Perhaps it is worth noting that until recently that necessarily meant different-sex couples, but UT is one of those states where the restriction on access to marriage has been successfully challenged in federal court.  Continue reading

Update on UT/CO Unmarried Father Case

My thanks to TAO, who pointed me towards this story in a comment to the last post.   I had written about the case two years ago, but would surely have missed this chance to follow up on it.

I’ll leave folks to go back and read either the earlier post (I just linked to it) or the article for the facts.    They are rather long and complicated.   But the short of it is that Robert Manzanares is the genetic father of a six-year old girl who has been living with a Utah couple her entire life.   (The people raising her are actually the brother and sister-in-law of her genetic mother.)

Regular readers here will know that Utah is a state that is very hard on unmarried genetic fathers.    As a matter of policy the state would much rather have children raised by married couples.  Hence, it is easy for a woman to give birth and place a child for adoption in UT and it is hard for a man who is the genetic father of the child to stand claim a right to raise the child himself.    Continue reading

Parents Who Are Not (And Never Were) Partners Approved in NY

I know there is a lively discussion elsewhere in the comments but I wanted to move along and post this case, which I think opens wholly different issues for discussion.   It’s not the first time I’ve blogged on the topic, but I’m not (just at the moment) taking the time to link to earlier posts.

The opinion (which I am uploading so you can read it yourself) considers whether a second-parent adoption can be completed where the proposed parents are not and never have been a couple.  There’s also been a bit of press coverage.

In this case, KAL and LEL are and have been very good friends.   KAL wanted to become a parent and, as friends will, she confided this desire to LEL.  He offered to provide the sperm and be a coparent.

Now if that had worked, this would actually be a fairly easy case, because they live in NY.   Had he provided sperm and had she gotten pregnant and given birth, they would both be legal parents.  But it was not to be.   Conception did not occur.   After a long time trying, LEL and KAL decided to adopt a child.  Continue reading

McKenna/Miller Custody Case Settles….And What Do We Know?

You may recall that just before Thanksgiving I blogged about a custody dispute between Bode Miller (famous US skier) and Sara McKenna.  They had a brief relationship during which she became pregnant.  Since there really wasn’t much of a relationship between the two, it’s probably not surprising that a custody fight followed.  But the particular course of the custody fight was somewhat remarkable.   (I’ll just link to the first of a string of earlier posts so that you can catch up if you want.)

The key thing was that one judge in NY seemed to think that McKenna had behaved badly because after she and Miller broke up and after she realized she was pregnant, she moved to NYC to take advantage of an educational program at Columbia University.   The decision, originally made in the spring, lead that judge to kick the custody case back to CA, where a judge awarded custody to Miller–I’m not sure on what basis.  Eventually a NY appeals court reversed the trial court in a scathing opinion–essentially recognizing that McKenna did have a right to travel even if she was pregnant.  Continue reading

At Last–A De Facto FATHER

I’m diverging from the ongoing conversation that arose from the Bode Miller custody case (which we can always come back to) to talk about a brand-new (as of this AM) Washington case.   And really, I’m happy to have it to talk about because sometimes I get the feeling that some of you think I am generally anti-male/anti-father.  Here’s a case that (might) help convince you I’m not.  

It’s called In Re BMH and is from the Washington Supreme Court.   I’m only going to do a superficial job at the moment (both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving approach), but it’s a start. 

Laurie and Michael Holt began a romantic relationship in 1993.   In 1995 they had a son, CH.   They never married and they separated in 1998.   (Just so you’re not in suspense, I think it is quite clear that Michael Hold is a legal parent of CH and that’s not in question here.) Continue reading

Asking Amy About Fathers

Going for two days in a row with posts here, which is one way of getting back in stride.  It does mean, however, that I haven’t had a chance to look at comments.  My apologies.   I’ll get to them, I promise.

Meantime, this morning my local paper (The Seattle Times) had an advice column Q and A that seemed pertinent.   It’s from “Ask Amy” and I found it on the columnists website.

There has been a lot of discussion here about unmarried fathers and their rights.   (You can use the tag “unmarried parent” I think.)   A lot of it has been sympathetic to men who are shut out of their genetic children’s lives.   And indeed, that sympathy may be perfectly appropriate in a number of instances.  It all depends, I think.

The question Amy is asked, however, arises from the “other side of the coin” Continue reading

Abstinence, Cord Blood Testing and Human Nature

My last post was about a new law in Mississippi that requires the collection of cord blood under specified circumstances.  (Read the post for details.)   I want to further develop some of the ideas there and actually tie it all back to a discussion of “human nature” that came up recently in a series of posts about putative father registries.   (I’ve linked to the first in the series.  You can read as many as you want and either read or skim the extensive comments, too.)

The proponents of the cord blood collection statute say that their primary concern is teen pregnancy.  I think that reducing the rate of teen pregnancy is then tied to increasing prosecution of men who commit statutory rape–which is to say older men who have sex with women who are 16 or under.    The way MS law is written, “older” there must mean men over 19.

Let’s assume for a moment that older men are deterred by the prospect that the cord blood DNA will serve as crucial evidence to support their prosecution.    (I think this is open to question for some of the same reasons I’m about to discuss in a different context.)  Continue reading

And Now–To The Sex Registries Question


This is a continuation of a series of posts on putative father registries.   Check back over the last three posts (and the extensive comments accompanying them) to get up to speed.    The most recent post will at least help  you understand the terrain of the discussion.   In particular, it discusses what putative father registries are for.   This is important to have in mind.

I’m working myself round to considering an objection to putative father registries–that objection being that they amount to sex registries.   Though the term “sex registries” has been used some here, I’m not sure it has a general and agreed upon meaning–at the very least it doesn’t have one of which I am aware– which might mean we are actually talking about different things.   Now for starters, I suppose I’d better say what I mean by “sex registries.” Continue reading

Are Putative Father Registries Basically Sex Registries

There’s an ongoing discussion here about putative father registries–you can see it in the last two post and the extensive comments.    There’s one point that was raised (I’m sorry that right at the moment I cannot give proper credit to the person who raised it–my internet access is a little too clunky) that I wanted to pull out for a post as I think it warrants fuller discussion.

[I’m writing this after drafting this post.   I now realize this is going to take more than one post.  In this post I will set up the problem (subject of course to your objections that I’m not being fair, etc.) and in the next I’ll get to the sex registry part.]

Let me start with a description of what we’re talking about.   I’m actually going to begin by reminding you all what the problem is that lead to the putative father registries.   This is partly because for all the discussion of the comments and for all the objections (many of them good ones) being raised, I don’t see much attention being paid to the actual underlying problem.  Continue reading