View Full Version : A quirk of law
How stupid is this?
- Eleven or so years ago, my partner was married. Because of the circumstances of their separation, the divorce was never finalized. End result: They are, technically, still married.
- It has been five years since we have heard word one from the husband.
- By Washington state law, my daughter is not my daughter. The state considers this husband in absentia the legal guardian and parent of my daughter, despite DNA evidence to the contrary.
- Thus, I have no legal rights pertaining to my daughter, except ....
- Had Tig decided to put our child up for adoption, Washington law allows me to intervene and claim the child as my own.
Thus--I am not the father of the child, according to law, but could intervene in an adoption because I am the father of the child.
At any rate, it's a relatively simple matter of paperwork to correct, but I fully intend to sue the law once we're done because the situation is absurd. At present, the Birth Certificate must read either the name of the husband in absentia or else "Unknown".
Now, just as an editorial comment: Does anyone really, truly wonder why I dislike "conventional wisdom" and other embodiments of mass psychology? After all, because we live in a state where we elect our leaders, it can be reasonably said that this is the situation the people of the State of Washington desire. It will be my honor and my pleasure to haul them into court. After all, it will be Babygirl et al v. People of the State of Washington. And I was voted at one point, I think, "Most Likely to be Caught Up in a Morbid Legal Mess". Maybe not, but my high school classmates did not expect that graduation would be the last they heard of me; but it was hard to vote for "Most Likely to Go Down in a Drug, Sex, and Death Scandal" or "Most Likely to be Held in Contempt of Congress". But at least they recognized my potential, and now that I have the legitimate reason to go after the public corpus, I shall. Mercilessly.
Silly indeed. If for no other reason than the child deserves to have her father's name on the papers. And maybe you can get a nifty college fund out of it.
That is truely outdated and barbaric, in a word: fucked.
12-24-02, 10:59 PM
I think that we should create a separate court. It would be a legal court. It could be called the Court of Logical Reasoning. Where shit doesnt go down because of technicalities, and terrorists dont get off the hook because a paper was misplaced. Laws are good.. when they work
I donít see this as a quirk of law. A womanís husband is the legal father, unless noted otherwise. My son was born in similar circumstances, also in Washington State. The hospital gave me paperwork to sign, in which I agreed I was the father.
When people get married, they agree to accept joint responsibility on many matters, one of which is parental. The husband agrees to be the default legal father of all children his wife gives birth to during the marriage. That contract was still in effect for your partner when your daughter was born. Legally speaking, you had a daughter not with your partner, but with your partner and her husband.
You can bet this is a situation the people of the State of Washington desire, for the reason that it costs taxpayers less to specify a default father. I donít see how you have much chance in court fighting something for which the majority voted.
Consider the flip side, the advantages: For example, if your partner were at fault in a car accident and consequently owed someone damages, her husband would be jointly responsible. Whether or not he paid a dime, you would indirectly benefit. (Suppose you and your partner applied for a home loan after she got divorced but before she paid the damages. The bank would see that her ex-husband jointly owes the damages. That would help you get the loan.) In effect, youíve gotten free insurance. Your situation with your daughter is a disadvantage that offsets such advantages.
Edited to add: Oops, I see above that your partner was separated. Not many advantages to you then.
01-05-03, 10:31 PM
This is a strange and archaic state of affairs, especially in the age of DNA.
Under Australian law, for example, the genetic father of a child has rights and, more importantly, legal responsibilities to support that child, regardless of custody issues.
Itís the same in the USA. The husband is the legal father by default until either both the husband and genetic father sign a document, or until the genetic father is determined by a paternity test, which can be ordered by a judge if needed. That seems to give maximum protection to all parties.
The husband is the legal father by default until either both the husband and genetic father sign a document, or until the genetic father is determined by a paternity test, which can be ordered by a judge if needed. That seems to give maximum protection to all parties.There's a strange irony at play, though, and I would beg you consider this:
- It should be easy enough to resolve the paternity affidavit, once we find the husband.
- Why? Because at present, he is legally responsible for child support. (Note: That's not well-protected, by any means.)
- But despite this, while I, the genetic father, have no rights toward this living child, I would have the right to intervene in an adoption. (Note: As a matter of consistency, it seems inconsistent that I can block an adoption of a child that is not legally mine.)
And that's what I don't get. If Tig were so inclined as to send this child away, I would have a route to intervene; yet if she chose to abort, I would not; yet despite it all, genes and everything, I have no official legal responsibilities at this moment. (Note: How well-protected, then, is the child?)
Nonetheless, it is a legal curiosity that I intend to remedy, once we've found the missing husband and gotten his hancock.
A nearly quaint sidebar: It turns out that my mother knows the man's aunt by accident of professional relations. Strangely, though, my mother is unwilling to initiate contact on our behalf. Not because "It's our responsibility to initiate contact," but because she just doesn't want to. It seems strange, but if you walk into your associate's office and say, "So are you _____'s aunt?" and she says, "But _____ died last year" (a possibility) .... My mother, I think, is afraid of the akward "right thing", which in this case she could make much smoother. Seriously, though, whenever I broach the subject, or even simply ask for this aunt's number, my mom just shakes her head and says, "You should check again. That can't be right."
Yes, mother. It's right. I've asked my local social worker several times if I've got this right. All I'm asking for is a manner in which to initiate contact, and what the hell is so hard about that? I understand if my mother doesn't want to be involved, but without this aunt's phone number, I may have to do some work and look in a phone book. :rolleyes:
But it's bizarre: the sooner I can get this taken care of, the sooner I can legally have a say in immunization, schooling, and other aspects of my child's benefit. Tig seems none-too-anxious to see her husband again (this is understandable), and the most direct contact I have with the man is somehow closed to me. As it is, Tig wonders why I don't want to move furniture around (the last of the boxes--the crap--is not yet unpacked); I of course wonder why she won't sit down and fill out her half of one page.
Oh, well. Emma knows her daddy. That's the important thing.
I can appreciate what youíre going through. How do you have no rights toward the child, if you have the right to intervene in an adoption? You do have rights even though youíre not the legal father; you have the right to prove youíre the legal father. Youíd have to do that before you could make the intervention stick. That you can intervene before becoming the legal father is like a temporary injunction until you provide proof.
Thereís no easy answer on the abortion/adoption contradiction. The best I can come up with is to say that a fetus isnít given much legal consideration, so neither is the father on behalf of the fetus.
Emma has a daddy who wants her. Thatís the important thing.