The Legal Mechanics of Paternal Surrender/Paternal Abortion

Regarding the mechanics of paternal abortion/paternal surrender, I think an opt in arrangement would be best.

If the assumed father is informed before the birth that the child is his, then he should be given a maximum time frame of 19 weeks to decide if he wants to be the father (opt in). If 19 weeks elapse, and he makes no decision, he forfeits his right and responsibility to raise the child. (opt out)

I base 19 weeks on the fact that abortion is available to women up to 24 weeks gestation in most western countries. I calculate a maximum 19 week time-frame from this. 24 weeks minus 5 weeks – a woman on average finds out she’s pregnant at around 5 weeks gestation. Let’s say that a woman tells the assumed father that she is 10 weeks pregnant with his child. The man then has a legal right to consider whether he wants to opt into the duties of fathering that child up to the 29th week of her pregnancy – 19 weeks after she has informed him.

However, paternal surrender needs to be adopted in combination with other measures.

A mandatory DNA test at birth will determine who the biological father is.

I think the same maximum 19 week time frame can apply after birth too if the father is not informed until after the birth of a child that is biologically his and the same opt-in/opt-out rule will apply.

If the man was informed before birth he was the assumed biological father but the subsequent DNA test at birth reveals that he is not the biological father, then he is automatically opted out and the biological father is offered the maximum 19 week process of opt in/opt out instead.

If the man opts out before or after birth, he’s not to be punished with child support payments. If he opts in before or after birth, then he still has joint-responsibilities with the mother to support the child.

So that’s two things, legal paternal surrender and mandatory DNA test at birth, that are going to cause a lot of short term pain in society before the long term gain kicks in.

I think a new Ministry for Adoption will help tide things over in various jurisdictions. Given that, as things stand, an estimated 10% to 12% of children are not biologically related to the man who is assumed to be the father, I can anticipate that many men, upon learning from the DNA test at birth that he is not the biological father, will opt out of fathering the child. I can perfectly understand this. Both men and women have a biological imperative to pass down their own genes, not someone else’s. Additionally, many men may feel betrayed by a woman who led him to believe that the child was biologically his when, in fact, it was not. The mother who has no father to support the child will have the option of giving the child up for adoption and the new Ministry for Adoption will have a remit to place these children with psychologically stable two parent families.

Over and above this, there ought to be mandatory joint custody so that in the event of a subsequent separation or divorce the child will have the benefit of continuing to be raised by two parents. This right is provided for in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 9). Secret family courts must also end. All orders of family courts including orders for joint custody or visitation must be enforced. Custodial sentences will be imposed on those who refuse to comply. In the UK, it is estimated that about 5000 parents a year – almost always mothers – defy orders to let the other parent have contact with their children. They’re not punished. They should be punished with incarceration. In the UK, a man recently got a 3 month prison sentence for filming crown court proceedings in Manchester. Why not give these parents who defy court orders a similar punishment?

Whether we like it or not, part of the role of law is to deter. For the personality disordered, the threat and execution of punishment is probably the only thing that is going to adjust their behaviour.

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