Unwed dads in court

by Walter Olson on March 13, 2014

A New Jersey judge has ruled that a mother-to-be doesn’t have to notify the estranged unwed father that she is going into labor or let him into the delivery room [ABA Journal] Meanwhile, a suit filed on behalf of unwed fathers is challenging Utah’s adoption laws, which they say improperly enable mothers from out of state to visit Utah for purposes of depriving unwed fathers of rights of notification or objection they would otherwise enjoy under their home state’s law [Salt Lake Tribune]

{ 4 comments }

1 John 03.13.14 at 9:55 am

Having read the ABA story (and having no desire to read the actual ruling) I think the judge got it right and wrong. I agree that the mother should have the right to not let the father into the delivery room. But I do have a problem with telling the mother she doesn’t even have to notify Dad about the birth. It is still his child and if he wants to be a part of the childs life then the courts should support that. Even more so if she says it is his child and plans on putting him down as the father on the birth certificate.

Having said all that, the only thing that would be helpful is if the reason she doesn’t want him there is because of previous domestic violence in which case I would be more inclined to the judge’s ruling.

2 Hugo S. Cunningham 03.13.14 at 8:52 pm

In adoption law, Utah correctly puts the interests of the child (in a stable two-parent home) ahead of the wishes of an unmarried DNA-dad. If a man wants to ensure the equal rights of a parent, he should find a woman willing to marry him. For “pro-family” and “defense of marriage” people, this should be a no-brainer.
Obviously ,however, if a DNA-dad is assessed for child support, that should give him equal parental rights.

3 Richard 03.13.14 at 11:50 pm

H. Cunningham: If that is the reasoning, what is the basis for permitting an unmarried mother to retain custody of her child?

4 John 03.14.14 at 9:38 am

Hugo, why do you assume that the father’s home would be a single parent home? Mabye you are right most of the time, but the way the article reads, the courts don’t even try to find out. Also you assume that all the kids being put up for adoption are going to stable two-parents homes. Do you know this to be the case?

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