Texas readers may have heard of a recent family court ruling that has led to a great deal of debate across the nation. The ruling was made in a hearing concerning outstanding child support owed by a man who has fathered four children with four different women. He is behind in his child support payments to the tune of over $100,000.
In a recent hearing on the matter, the father was ordered to pay the $100,000 he owes. He was also banned by order of the court to stop having any more children until he can support the ones he already has. Failure to abide by the order could land him in jail for one year.
The man’s attorney is pledging to appeal the order, stating that it is not within the realm of a judge’s authority to deny an individual the right to procreate. However, the judge has issued a statement asserting the order is constitutional. This is based on the fact that the order allows the man the right to have children if he so desires; he just has to prove that he is making his court-ordered child support payments before doing so.
As this case moves forward through appeals, it will raise a number of interesting questions concerning the ability of a judge to strip away what is widely considered to be a fundamental right of becoming a parent. Similar cases have made their way all the way to the highest court in at least one state. The outcome here could have wide-ranging effects on similar child support cases in Texas and throughout the nation.
Source: Cleveland.com, “A fundamental right to procreate?” Sharon Broussard, Feb. 1, 2013