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December 20, 2004

Comments

La Lubu

Well darn. I was just going to ask Jen about how she did her math for the nine dollars a day it supposedly takes her to raise her children. I mean, nine dollars, times thirty days in a month, is $270 right? Minus $117 for one weeks worth of child care, I'm down to $153. Minus the second week of child care, gives me $36.

I've still got two more weeks of child care to go, and so far I haven't figured in food, clothing, housing, medical expenses, medical insurance, toiletries, haircuts, school supplies, books, swim lessons, etc. Not to mention that sizable backlog of medical bills that insurance didn't cover for my admittedly unusual situation. That leftover $36 certainly isn't going to cover it!

Nahh, you did the right thing Hugo. I'm done with it. It's destined to be a big troll-fest, and not worth the hassle. But thank you for the opportunity to vent!

zuzu

"Nosewampus?" Hee.

Sorry about my contribution to the profanity, Hugo; I know you like a clean comments section. I should learn not to even bother with the wild-eyed.

La Lubu

I'm gonna steal "nosewampus" at my earliest opportunity! that one's too good to pass up!

Hugo

You are a disgrace to men Hugo. You have traded your nosewampus for a deep plate of old pomegranates.

NOTE: THIS IS A TROLL.

thisgirl

Hugo, you appear to have a fan; someone's been posting under your name at my site too (good thing we non-troll types can tell each other apart ain't it?)

Amanda

I am mostly just flummoxed that people who come to bed with some much fear and hostility just bother with sex at all, honestly.

La Lubu

yeah Amanda...they need a slogan, like: "Masturbation! It's not just a job, it's an adventure!!"...something like that.

John

While I agree with Amanda, La Lubu, that was unkind and uncalled for.

La Lubu

and also quite mild compared to the commentary offered to me by some of those trolls. No curse words were used.

typhonblue

I don't think the discussion was going anywhere when you closed it. No one presented any laws that hold women accountable for their legal responsibilities to their child(ren) after they surrender them to the authorities. Nor did anyone mention an instance in which women had been held accountable for child support after they had surrendered the child in question to the authorities. I can only conclude(for now) that such situations (and laws) don't exist.

The rest of the conversation seemed to be devolving into sidetracks. Perhaps there needs to be a correlary to Godwin's law involving the mention of marxists.

As for another point that was brought up by La Lubu, I believe... Yes I do debate other issues (Wages of Wrath.) But, simply, the reproductive double standard took my interest. A cursory look over my blog would show that the double standard I'm most interested in has to do with the marginalization of male homosocial(sexual or otherwise) relationships. I admit my interest is mainly venal since I'm a original fic/fan fic slasher and yaoi writer. I find the social realities surrounding modern disenfranchisment of men-- social, political, sexual and emotional -- facinating and good material for story telling. (Usually with a homoerotic element of course.)

As for being an men's rights activist... I have gotten into arguments with MRAs about certain issues. Plus I doubt all my beliefs would sit will with many of them.

typhonblue

BTW, Matilde is adorable.

NancyP

Marginalization of male homosocial relationships? This might be true In Real Life, but it doesn't ring true in pop culture, which is full of buddy movies (bandits, cops, etc - latest big budget incarnation Ocean's Twelve), an increasing number of war movies (current incarnation Alexander), etc - seems to be a thriving theme.

Amanda

How do I put it that is kind enough? I resent people's negative attitudes that poison even the relationships of those of us who are remotely mature about these things, sowing doubt into more loving relationships.

Ampersand
No one presented any laws that hold women accountable for their legal responsibilities to their child(ren) after they surrender them to the authorities. Nor did anyone mention an instance in which women had been held accountable for child support after they had surrendered the child in question to the authorities.

You didn't present any documented examples of instances in which a mother had surrendered her child to the authorities, the father prevented the adoption by asserting his parental rights, and then a court refused to order the mother to pay chlid support because she had attempted to give the child up for adoption.

It seems to me that you have a double standard - you're asking the feminists here for a level of evidence that you haven't even come close to providing for your own claims. And the level of evidence you're asking for is unreasonable, since individual custody cases are not systematically indexed on the web, making them nearly impossible for non-experts to look for.

* * *

I don't think that you are denying that, in the US, noncustodial mothers can be ordered to pay child support. Those are the laws that hold mothers responsible.

Furthermore, in every state law I've looked at, a father who has made even minimal efforts to claim fatherhood can prevent an adoption from taking place by withholding consent (see Illinois' law for an example).

As far as I can tell, there exists no law, anywhere, explicitly stating that once the mother has given up custody of her infant to state authorities, she can't be held responsible for child support even if the state ultimately doesn't ultimately terminate parental rights. Unless you can show me such a law exists, it seems to me that if an adoption doesn't happen, the mother would be just as responsible for paying child support as she would have been if she never attempted to put the child up for adoption.

(Note that I am not asking you for a different level of evidence than what I'm providing - when I claim a law exists, I also include links to that law. It's not unfair of me to ask the same from you. Plus, laws are easy to search for - most states have their entire legal code available on the internet)

* * *

If I'm inferring your argument correctly, you're basing a lot of your argument about how parental rights in the USA generally work on how "safe habor" or "infant abandonment" laws work. If so, then your entire approach to understanding US law is fundimentally flawed. "Safe harbor" laws aren't a typical example of the principles of US parental law; they're a major exception to those principles. No one argues that infant abandoment is a good thing, or is how things should generally work; on the contrary, "safe harbor" laws are understood to be a necessary evil, which we live with in order to prevent the even greater evil of infanticide.

To claim that a set of laws that are in fact an exception to general legal principles, is an example of how our general legal principles work, is obviously illogical.

That said, even if we ignore all that, you'd still be mistaken.

"Safe harbor" or infant abandoment laws are a little different from adoption. However, most states with these laws have a system in place like Tennessee's, where child welfare searches for the infant's family, publishes ads in regional newspapers, etc., to give the father sixty days to assert his parental rights. Also, in some states, like California, infant abandoment laws are written in sex-neutral language.

Furthermore, you seem to be thinking that parental rights are terminated on the moment the mother turns over the infant to the authorities (and thus, once the mother turns over the baby, she can no longer be held responsible, regardless of other cirucmstances). That's not the case; there's a "cooling off period," during which the mother could reclaim the child (usually between 30 and 90 days, although it varies by state). Parental rights are not really terminated until the end of that period.

Finally, most infant abandonment laws explicitly exempt the abandoner from being prosecuted for abandonment or neglect (see the first few paragraphs of the California law, for example). However, I've never seen a "safe harbor" law that included a exemption from child support should the father claim custody. If there's an exemption from child support, why isn't that written anywhere in the law?

Of course, maybe there is such an exemption written into the laws. In which case, you should be able to find and link to it.

La Lubu

And the safe harbor laws only apply for children born alive. A young mother here in Illinois recently miscarried a severely premature baby at home, alone. She had been hiding her pregnancy. She freaked out and buried the body (an autopsy revealed that the child had indeed been born dead). A dog dug up the body, and the search was on for the mother.

She was ultimately prosecuted for improper disposal of remains; because she was already on probation for another run-in with the law, she'll be serving from one-to-three in prison. This case is often cited as the reason Illinois has a safe harbor law, but I don't know why; in this case the child was already dead. But yeah, she was charged with abandonment, and that was dropped down to improper disposal.

mythago

I can only conclude(for now) that such situations (and laws) don't exist.

This from the same poster who got into a snit when asked to back up one of her own points? Precious!

typhonblue

mythago says(in quotes):

"This from the same poster who got into a snit when asked to back up one of her own points? Precious!"

Alright, you win.

Will I have to pay for my spouse's attorney?

FAQ on the Legal Issues of Divorce

Scroll down to "Doesn't my spouse have to pay my (lawyer's)fees?".

typhonblue


"And the level of evidence you're asking for is unreasonable, since individual custody cases are not systematically indexed on the web, making them nearly impossible for non-experts to look for."

But information on custody law is available.

"Furthermore, in every state law I've looked at, a father who has made even minimal efforts to claim fatherhood can prevent an adoption from taking place by withholding consent (see Illinois' law for an example)."

Yes, but can he then sue the mother for child support?

"Unless you can show me such a law exists, it seems to me that if an adoption doesn't happen, the mother would be just as responsible for paying child support as she would have been if she never attempted to put the child up for adoption."

What are orphanages for then? If a mother can't give up responsiblity for her children unless an adoption takes place, then why would we need them?

"To claim that a set of laws that are in fact an exception to general legal principles, is an example of how our general legal principles work, is obviously illogical."

Then let's not talk about the "safe harbor" laws.

"Of course, maybe there is such an exemption written into the laws. In which case, you should be able to find and link to it."

Actually, it might be considerably simpler.

When a woman puts a child up for adoption she gives up both her rights *and* responsiblilities. Thus, after she's made her final decision, she can't be held responsible for that child by *anyone*, including the punitive father.* This process, the woman giving up her rights and responsiblilities, can't be impeded by anyone including the father.

Where adoptions get contested is when the father decides not to give up his rights. He is trying to get *his* rights enforced, which has nothing to do with the mother's rights and responsibilities.

Now, the question becomes... can a man give up his rights and responsibilities through an equivalent process to adoption that can't be impeded by the mother?

typhonblue

Another way to look at the question would be: Is the right to sue the birth mother for child support one of the listed rights of a punitive father? I'd imagine it would be difficult to initiate such an action without any legal grounds.

Ampersand

Typhonblue, could you please provide links to the laws you're describing?

For instance, you say that "When a woman puts a child up for adoption she gives up both her rights *and* responsiblilities. Thus, after she's made her final decision, she can't be held responsible for that child by *anyone*, including the punitive father.* This process, the woman giving up her rights and responsiblilities, can't be impeded by anyone including the father."

Could you please link to whatever law it is you're referring to here? Because I think you're mistaken.

If a father prevents an adoption from going through, and becomes the custodial parent, than the mother can legally be ordered to pay child support. The legal exemption from the child support laws you're referring to does not exist, as far as I can tell.

* * *

I wrote: Unless you can show me such a law exists, it seems to me that if an adoption doesn't happen, the mother would be just as responsible for paying child support as she would have been if she never attempted to put the child up for adoption.
TyphonBlue responded: What are orphanages for then? If a mother can't give up responsiblity for her children unless an adoption takes place, then why would we need them?

An adoption does take place; orphans are legal wards of the state. The state has adopted them.

However, in the case of a mother initiating giving up her child for adoption, but the process being halted by the father's claim, the children have not been adopted - not by the state, and not by another couple. The biological parents remain responsible - and that means that the mother (if she ends up the non-custodial parent) could end up paying child support.

Ampersand
My apologies; I forgot to close 2 (2!) blockquotes.
Lynn Gazis-Sax

What are orphanages for then? If a mother can't give up responsiblity for her children unless an adoption takes place, then why would we need them?

I've answered this twice already, darn it, once in the other, closed thread, and once on my own blog. Infants surrendered for adoption do not wind up in orphanages, because there are plenty of willing homes for them. Orphanages (or group residences - I think they now get officially called by another name) are used for older children who have been removed from abusive or neglectful homes. In this case, the rights and responsibilities of both parents - father and mother - are terminated, and the child becomes a ward of the state. If a foster home cannot be found (often the case for teenagers), the child winds up in a group residence.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

A couple more points. First, my husband and I have been considering - if we decide that his health is up to it - adopting a child through the county. So I recently went to a couple of county orientations for adoptive parents, and got an idea of what sorts of children wind up there.

Your normal healthy infant adoption takes place through a private adoption agency; these children are surrendered to the private agency and don't wind up in the county system at all. Infants do wind up in the county system, and the county does need and recruit homes for them. A few of them wind up there through safe harbor laws (one of the women doing our orientation told a story about the first baby who came to them under the safe harbor law), but a much, much larger number wind up there because they have drug abusing mothers. Some infants are placed in foster homes that specialize in medically fragile infants, some in foster homes where the parents hope to adopt, and some - the ones where the chance of parental reunification is judged to be good - are placed in temporary foster homes.

When an infant winds up in the system, here in California, the parents have six months (this can be a year for older children) to shape up their acts and get the child back. So, the father of a child whose mother abused drugs could presumably apply to get the child back during this time. I'm not aware of any exceptions in child support law for children who were once up for adoption, but didn't get parental rights terminated, so the father could presumably apply to the mother for child support. Of course, if the mother is abusing drugs, he might, like LaLubu, be SOL when it comes to actually collecting that child support.

Second, I think where typhonblue may be getting confused is that there is a small amount of case law involving fathers who were not aware of the mother's pregnancy at all, and who asserted a right to the child well after the mother had terminated her rights. In a couple of cases, a toddler has been removed from an adoptive home and returned to the father. Adoption law has changed in response to these cases (the Baby Jessica case in Michigan and Iowa, the Baby Richard case in Illinois, and the Baby Pete case in Vermont); the changes involve both efforts to assure that a father will not later disrupt the proceedings by making more efforts to involve the father earlier on, and efforts to limit the amount of time during which any birth parent can disrupt an adoption. Occasionally this has involved controversial changes, such as the Florida law which required mothers surrendering a child for adoption to publish their names and names and descriptions of all their sex partners during the relevant time period. On the whole, though, I'd consider the involvement of putative fathers to be an improvement. This URL (http://library.lp.findlaw.com/articles/file/00016/000464/title/Subject/topic/Family%20Law_Prenatal%20Law/filename/familylaw_2_3439) describes the current state of adoption law regarding putative fathers.

I'm not aware of any case law which would settle the question of whether a father who undoes a previously settled adoption would be able to get child support from the mother. I don't think this question ever came up, and, given the changes in adoption law since these cases, it may not come up after all.

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