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