For most Colorado parents, the birth of a child is a momentous occasion. Parents want to experience every hardship and joy the moment brings. However, one father did not experience such a moment after a judge ruled in favor of the pregnant mother and barred his presence in the delivery room.
The case has caught the attention of people across the country and has raised concerns that fathers’ rights were violated in the process. According to the decision made by the judge, pregnant mothers can prohibit fathers during the baby’s delivery. They are also not obligated to divulge if they have gone into labor.
The decision stemmed from a dispute between the parents. The two were engaged but separated during the pregnancy. The woman did not want to tell the father if she went into labor and did not want him present during the birth. The father, however, asserted his right being the father of the child.
In the end, the judge ruled in favor of the mother, explaining that her best interest outweighed the interest of the father. The judge further noted that it would cause undue stress to the mother to notify the father during labor and require his presence. The judge added that relenting to the man’s request would violate the woman’s privacy rights as well. She gave birth on November 19, the same day the decision was rendered via a telephone patch.
The judge’s decision particularly refers to “putative fathers,” biological fathers that are not married to the mother. It does not affect married couples. Nonetheless, fathers’ rights advocates are up in arms. They called the decision discriminatory and a step back on equal parental responsibility gains.
Paternity is a serious issue. Colorado parents may wish to seek guidance from a family law professional to avoid disputes and to clear up existing paternity and child custody issues. This will also serve the best interest of the child and protect the parental rights of both parties.
Source: The Gazette, “Mothers in labor can bar fathers from birth room, New Judge rules,” Mar. 12, 2014