Home > family law general, paternity/child custody > Paternity Law in Utah–Part Deux

Paternity Law in Utah–Part Deux

So those of you who read the comments to these posts know that the client I referred to in my previous post about a paternity law case changed his mind about settling.  (Through some settlement negotiations Mom agreed to, and FINALLY posted a picture of the baby on her family blog.  This child looks so much like his Dad that if he is NOT my client’s, I will run naked through the street.)

Our hearing on whether or not my client has standing to proceed (the right to be in court in the first place) and on our motion for genetic testing was this morning.  It was. . .interesting.  Dad testified regarding the nature of his and Mom’s relationship, the evidence he had that Mom and Husband’s marriage is/was NOT stable in any way, and how he knew the baby to be his.  I had 10 pages of questions that we went through–detailed questions regarding all the emails sent, contacts made, sex had.  Mom and Husband both testified as well.  NO ONE–not Mom, not Husband, not even Husband’s Dad (who also testified) denied that Mom had been having sex with Dad.  Mom admitted on cross-examination (that’s the part where I got to ask her questions after her attorney had asked her questions) that she had not been having sex with Husband at the time that the child would have had to been conceived (this is important–it’s an element to getting an order for genetic testing).  She admitted, also on cross-examination (do I know how to ask a question or what? ;)) that she had been emailing Dad for 3 years, and that she’d told him that her marriage was not stable.  Kind of took the wind out of the previously attested-to Stable Marriage Sails.

The most interesting part of this hearing, however, came at the end when opposing counsel and I had a chance to argue our positions based on the law.  Let me say this:  preparation is ALWAYS better than having to rely on pointing at your sad and pathetic clients and hoping that their hopeful faces will trump law.  I was very glad that I’d briefed the hell out of the constitutionality issue (because the judge asked specific questions that I’d already researched and addressed, and had the answers on paper to).

It still matters. EVEN in family law. EVEN in Utah.

I was extremely glad that I’d spent so much time going through the statute, and was able to respond to questions regarding the ‘infallibility’ of the presumptive father’s rights to the child in cases like this.  The judge had plenty to think about.  Too much to give us a ruling today, in fact.  He took it under advisement, meaning he’s going to do his own research, read the Supreme Court cases I pointed to, review the statutes, and get back to us in the (hopefully not too distant) future as to what the order will be from this hearing.

I find that I’m quite deeply invested in this case now.  I cannot stand the thought that Pearson continues to be law in the State of Utah.  It’s an unconstitutional non-interpretation of the statutes of the state.  Should the court find in favor of Mom and Husband as a result of today’s hearing, there WILL be an appeal.  I’ve decided that the professional exposure I could get from working this case will be worth it in the long run, so I’ve already committed to handling any appeal we may need to bring pro bono (that means for free).  I believe it will be worth it for others reasons as well.  Why, you ask?

Because I am simply not jaded enough, nor am I disillusioned enough with the family court system, to think that this is how it should be and we can’t fix it.  Because I can’t believe that the State of Utah would be so interested in preserving the marital relationship, in whatever tatters that relationship may be, at the expense of a father’s relationship with his own flesh and blood.  Because I’m Right, and I’m just stubborn enough to push the issue.  And because if they can take my client’s child away from him, they can take mine away–and that is absolutely not acceptable.

  1. HeatherValentine
    September 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I read this post, and I know this “Dad”, he is my brother. And I read the rest of your post, and I hear what I am feeling and thinking right now….I simply do not accept this is the status quo for Family Court, ANYWHERE…. I am battling a different set of fundamentally flawed Rules and Procedures, that as a mother to a disabled child, and the systematic shredding of my family, both immedaite, and your Dad’s…..
    If they do not like a mother that takes time to be informed, and up to speed on Code, and Departmental Policy and Procedure…..then they will like me even less when I am facing them on a professional level. I have decided that I already know how to live on no money, so I will stand for the belief that a CHANGE CAN BE MADE, on each level of service and support for the people of this country.
    Sometimes, the answer isn’t in the box, and we need to use the knowledge and education to be creative, in helping the people recieve due process, access services needed to support disabilities, and change the linear thinking that sets Family Court at odds with the moral, legal and unkown.
    When the professionals involved aren’t allowed to speak with me, without documentation, or a supervisor present….. It says I am clearly standing firm with the Law and I am never one to make a statement without prior research and docs to support my words….And I try to never let my feelings be the facts presented, even when I am on fire with rage at the complete lack of disregard and unprofessionalism our legal system accepts as “reasonable and acceptable”

    I would love to chat with ya sometime, and you are doing the right thing for the right reason, and that will always prevail in the end……Standing up and Expecting our Judicial System to Protect the People, Blindly, and according to Code…. IS NOT WRONG EVER!!!!!

    I will also be a single mom, and an Attorney (eventually) and I will work with those that need someone Fierce and Unrelenting, much like a nuclear winter walking into the courtroom. And if you, or I do the RIGHT thing for the RIGHT REASON, then blessing will appear….

    Thanks, and you are an appreciated and respected for your job, and beliefs (assumed from this post…I will read the others for sure…)


  2. September 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Heather—You made me tear up just a little bit here :). Thanks for the kind words. It can be a very hard job sometimes.


    • Philip, Beth's Dad, much to say
      May 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      Tender, IF EVERYONE knew the side to the whole story,


      • May 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

        And there are ALWAYS at least 2 sides…family law can be a real nightmare that way. I don’t think anyone, but God alone, will ever know the whole story, and it’s probably just as well. Only God would be the perfect judge in most family cases.


      • Dad
        June 5, 2012 at 8:50 am

        “Philip, Beth’s Dad, much to say” There is only 1 side to the truth. You can try to rationalize it whatever way you want to, facts are facts. Emails, pictures, hotel receipts, text messages, and testimony dont lie. I suggest you ask your daughter for a copy of our testimony if you think something is inaccurate.

        If you ever want to hear/read the truth Phil I have copies of everything, you know how to get ahold of me.

        Anyways, Marca keep up the good work.


  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: