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« Mohamed Mitty | Main | Nonconsensual Domination »

May 10, 2007


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Whether this is the first legal ruling of its time depends on how narrowly you construe the context of the ruling.

I would put cash down that there have been previous cases where a man has asserted in court that, while a child is biologically his, he was informed orally by the mother that she wanted to be pregnant, didn't want child support, and didn't want him to act as a parent in the child's life. I'd also put cash down that the guy using that argument lost.

I know for a fact there have been cases where the guy has claimed that the mother promised him that if her birth control failed, she'd get an abortion. Then when this happened, didn't. That argument didn't do any good either.

Whether this is the first legal ruling of its time depends on how narrowly you construe the context of the ruling.

You're right, but ... the novelty here is the kid ends up with three parents. And it's an appellate ruling. I doubt that any case involving a man/woman couple ever got appealed.

If the dad gave up the child and the lesbian nonbio mom adopted her, there would be no liability, right? Adoption cuts that off. Seems like a simple fix to me.

I got the impression the non-bio mom had adopted:

Jodilynn Jacob, 33, and Jennifer Lee Shultz-Jacob, 48, moved in together as a couple in 1996, and were granted a civil-union license in Vermont in 2002. In addition to conceiving the two children with the help of Frampton -- a longtime friend of Shultz-Jacob's -- Jacob also adopted her brother's two older children, now 12 and 13.

In any event, for the prospective sperm donor, it doesn't solve the problem ex ante, since the non-bio mom could back out of the agreement to adopt.

Ok, I just read the decision on lexis.

Technically, the kids didn't end up with 3 parents, they ended up with one parent and two "de facto" parents. De facto parenthood is a tool that has been used in the past to rope in long term boyfriends and fiances, especially ones that have held themselves out as parents, or allowed the kids in question to call them Dad.

De facto parenthood is also the tool of choice these days for acknowledging the rights of gay and lesbian partners without officially admitting it. This creates an awkward situation where strengthening the laws that currently protect homosexual couples with children actually disadvantages people who become voluntarily involved in the life of a child without the intention of incurring legal obligations.

And for the record there wasn't any adoption of two of the kids in question.

The decision is bullshit, of course (in the ethical sense), but it isn't groundbreaking by any means.

The most interesting part of reading the case was noticing that the biological mother didn't actually want to pursue the support claim against the biological father. She wanted support from the nonbiological mother, and the nonbiological mother wanted custody, and when the nonbiological mother got soaked for a support check she turned around and pulled in the biological father in hopes that his additional support obligation would reduce the amount she had to pay.

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