First Of Its Kind Case Limiting Fathers Rights Explained
First-of-its-kind case limiting fathers’ rights explained
The actual decision was issued by a New Jersey court back in November, but the judge’s written explanation for his ruling didn’t become public until last week. Some may find that a little bit surprising considering the barrier the decision seems to create in the area of fathers’ rights.
In dispute in the case was the father’s desire to be present at the birth of his child. The mother, to whom the man was not married, didn’t want him in the delivery room and hadn’t even informed him when she went into labor. He claimed she had an obligation to tell him. Interestingly, oral arguments in the case were held the day the child was born. The mother reportedly listened in by teleconference from the delivery room.
The outcome was that the judge ruled that an unwed father doesn’t have any legal right to be notified of labor, or be at the bedside for the delivery, if the mother doesn’t want him there.
In the judge’s view, the mother’s interests supersede those of the father. Even in cases where the father has shown “deep and proper concern and interest” during the pregnancy, the mother’s rights take precedent because she has to carry the child to term.
The attorney for the father had argued that his client’s being denied access was fundamentally unfair in that it prevented him from having the same initial bonding experience that the mother did.
Advocates for fathers’ rights have long argued that the courts are behind the times when making determinations related men and parenting. They say a bias in the courts continues to favor women in matters of child custody and more, even when fathers seek to exercise their right to have a relationship with their children beyond merely paying support.
Some may say this decision serves as just one more example.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “N.J. judge cites women’s rights in barring unwed dad from child’s birth,” Patrik Jonsson, March 12, 2014