New York Court Affirms Moving Out of State While Pregnant Is Not ‘Absconding With a Child’


Anti-choice activists routinely pit the rights of pregnant people against the rights of their developing fetus as a means to justify policing their behavior and holding them criminally accountable for the outcomes of their pregnancies. But a recent case out of New York shows those efforts are not limited to abortion restrictions and prosecutions for feticide, but have even shown up in custody disputes.

The plaintiff in this most recent case lives in New York, but she used to live in San Diego, where she was working as a firefighter at Camp Pendleton. After becoming pregnant, she decided to quit firefighting and instead go to college, figuring as a single mother the benefits of a college degree outweigh the risks inherent in firefighting. After looking at colleges in California, Connecticut, and New York she decided to attend Columbia University and, at seven months pregnant, moved to New York to start school.

The plaintiff had no real relationship with the father of her child. He had no involvement in her decision to move, and around this time had married another woman. After the birth of his son, he declined invitations to come to New York and meet him. Assuming the father wanted no part in her son’s life, the mother began a proceeding in New York courts to seek sole custody of the child. But once the father got notice of the custody action, he began his own proceeding in California. Confusingly, California uses the same form to begin a paternity proceeding as to begin a custody dispute; in this case, the father told the court he was seeking both an order of paternity for a child not yet born and custody. To make matters worse, the father was able to quickly get an order from the California court granting paternity before the mother’s attorneys had a chance to respond. With that order in hand, the father pushed for custody in California, arguing the decision to move while pregnant was “tantamount” to parental kidnapping.

With dueling custody actions in both New York and California, the courts had to decide where the proceeding would take place. The attorney for the father appeared in New York and argued the New York case should be dismissed, with the California court making the custody determination. Typically, the determination of where a custody case is to be heard is driven by the “home state” of the child. The mother argued that New York was the “home state” since her child had been born in the state and lived with her since birth. But the father argued the California court, which had already established paternity before the attorneys for the mother had notice of the proceedings, should ultimately determine custody.

The New York Family Court agreed and, in May, granted his motion to dismiss the New York custody case. The reasoning of the family court referee shows a disturbing disregard for the rights, let alone the basic autonomy, of the mother. According to the court referee, the mother, by virtue of relocating from California to New York while pregnant, committed an “appropriation of the child [sic] while in uteri [that] was irresponsible, reprehensible.”

“The referee’s decision had far-reaching implications for pregnant women, effectively stripping them of fundamental constitutional rights,” said Sarah Burns, professor of Clinical Law at NYU Law and director of the Reproductive Justice Clinic, in a statement released after a New York appellate court overturned that decision. Burns and her clinical students, joined by the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), the New York Civil Liberties Union, and nine other organizations, filed a brief in the case, detailing just how the determination that moving while pregnant was an “appropriation of a child” would have far-reaching constitutional implications. If left standing, the referee’s interpretation of the custody statute would place unconstitutional constraints on a person’s basic life decisions, such as where she lives, works, and attends school while pregnant. Lynn Paltrow, executive director of NAPW, explained the constitutional significance of the decision in a statement as well. “This decision affirms that women who become pregnant may not be penalized for exercising their rights to travel and to seek an education,” she said.

Last week’s decision is significant for a number of reasons. To begin with, it reaffirmed that, as a general rule, courts cannot hear custody matters that are filed prior to birth, since a developing fetus should not be considered a child for custody determinations. More specifically, in this case, the court went further to underscore that the mother’s relocation should not have been relevant to New York‘s jurisdiction over the custody dispute in the first place. To make that move relevant, the court reasoned, men claiming to be fathers could limit the movement of pregnant women, and “[p]utative fathers have neither the right nor the ability to restrict a pregnant woman from her constitutionally-protected liberty.” Finally, the decision is a strong affirmation that a person does not give up their rights once they become pregnant, and that reproductive autonomy extends well beyond the initial decision to terminate or continue a pregnancy.

Correction: A version of this article referred to the group National Advocates for Pregnant Women as the National Association of Pregnant Women. We regret the error.

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  • dance commander

    Exactly. If zygotes are people, moving while pregnant is kidnapping.

    • Arekushieru

      No, I still on’t think it would be. If a woman is pregnant with a person, that still does not abrogate her rights to move freely.

      • dance commander

        Just considering some of the possible consequences of the fetal personhood legislation that forced birthers keep pushing…

        • Arekushieru

          Or, rather, what they would EXPECT to happen, right? :)

          • dance commander

            Or rather, what they fantasize about..indeed.

  • OGalaxy

    I understand the argument that a pregnant person has the right to move anywhere she wants. But I also think that a father has rights. In this case, the father had a reasonable expectation that his child’s birth and any custody case would take place in California. At the very least, she should have returned to California shortly after the child’s birth.

    As feminists, we cannot argue out of one side of our mouths that we encourage fathers to be more involved in raising their children and then argue out of the other side of our mouths that a mother has the right to move a father’s child out of state without his consent. This woman clearly undermined the father’s paternal rights. It was not reasonable to expect him to travel across the country for a custody battle.

    I don’t think moving across state lines while pregnant constitutes as kidnapping, but I do think this father has rights and this article does exactly what feminism is NOT supposed to do: place women in a superior role over men or grant more rights to a mother than to a father.

    Is it really fair to expect a man to move or travel across the country to see his child or engage in a custody hearing? And on a more personal (non-legal) level, what kind of mother takes her child that far from the father anyway (assuming he is not a danger to the child)? Think about a man in your life whom you care about, and imagine if he got some woman pregnant and she moved across the country before giving birth with the intention of staying across the country. How can anyone think that is fair to the father?

    Let me ask you this: if a woman is pregnant and is endangering the fetus by drinking or doing drugs, refusing to go to her prenatal checkups, or engaging in any other behavior that could harm the fetus, do you not think the father should have a legal right to protect his unborn child? I’m not saying the fetus is a person but I am saying that he has parental rights and feminism would be wise to stand up for fathers in cases like these instead of blindly siding with mothers just because they are women.

    • BirdieBlue

      Parents only have parental rights over children. A fetus is not a child. Feminism defends human beings and their rights over fetuses, every time.

      Are you really arguing that once a woman gets pregnant she is obligated to never move again so as to make the fetus and then the child available to the father? Would you also require the same obligation of the father – that once he gets a woman pregnant, he is legally obligated to refrain from moving until the child turns 18? Are we going to legally mandate that parents with shared custody remain in a 10 mile radius of one another for 18 years?

      Oh, wait. “Refusing to go to her prenatal checkups” is something you think should be forced by law. You think men have rights over women’s bodies just because they contributed DNA to the fetus inside her. Gross. Vile and gross.

      • OGalaxy

        I am arguing that either parent may not up and leave the state with the child on a permanent basis without the consent of the other parent, or that the court would have to grant custody in such a case.

        I think either parent has the right to oversee the welfare of HIS OR HER child. If a woman is endangering a fetus that she expects to carry to term, then yes, the father has a right to protect the health and welfare of the fetus.

        You want to talk about vile and disgusting? Taking a child forcibly and without consent, away from one of his parents is pretty vile if you ask me. This is not about men having rights over women’s bodies. If she moved to New York while pregnant, fine. But he had a reasonable expectation that the child would live in California after it was born.

        There is an obvious gray area between women having autonomy over their bodies and endangering a fetus (future child) that is also the child of another person when that fetus is going to be carried to term.

        If a woman is pregnant and drinking a case of beer every night and she intends to carry the pregnancy to term, I suppose you think the father should sit back and mind his own business? What kind of father would he be?

        I’m appalled that someone thinks it’s okay for a mother to permanently move a father’s child out of state without consent. That is not equality–that is granting superior rights to women and mothers. Period.

        • Maryanna Price

          You obviously didn’t read. She offered visits, he married someone else. You seem to think it would be fine to forcibly load this woman onto a plane in order to let “Daddy” play peek-a-boo, but you’re aghast that someone seeking custody they obtained through shady means shouldn’t have to bother going anywhere or doing anything.

          • OGalaxy

            Well I suppose if he’d taken the baby after it was born, gotten on a plane, and moved to New York and then started custody proceedings, that would be just fine by you. Or is there a double standard for men and women? Do mothers have more rights to a child than fathers do? I thought feminism was about EQUALITY. Does a father not have equal parental rights?

            It is attitudes like this that anti-feminists use to assert that feminists want to raise women above men. You seem to think the father has NO rights. How is that fair or equal?

            And please, how does someone “obtain custody through shady means?” Some fathers do more than play peek-a-boo. And in a case like this, it is up to the courts to decide. She should have started her proceedings in California. You ought to think about how you’d feel if this happened to a man you cared about–like a brother, uncle, or good friend.

          • KrisDStar

            Nope. Because the child was born in NY. Which means, per the laws of NY, that NY had jurisdiction in the custody case. Home state rule.
            The father has equal parental rights. He does not have rights over the movement of the mother.
            I would call my brother an idiot for filing for custody in a state that was not the home state of a child.
            You want to give the father special rights to dictate what the laws regarding home state should be. You want the father to have the special right to the home state because he put his penis in her vagina in that state. Even though the actual birth occurred in another state.
            Neither she nor the child were residents of California. They were under no obligation to file court proceedings in a state that was not their home state.

          • dance commander

            *owned* Internet’s+1 for you

          • kd

            I have been fighting this same case since 2009. Things you don’t know; 1. Homestate has to be established with were the child lives for six 6 consecutive months after birth. Stop talking about concieved and born, it is not relevant. This is the main reason for the proceeding because the child’s home state now is Cali because she was forced to let it stay. 2.A parent’s initial desire cannot be used and is inadmissible when dealing with a born child. Discussions of abortions and all is mute. Child Custody of unwed parties is like a domestic violence police call, first one to call the police, wins. Many women get pregnant and move to establish power or to put the father at a disadvantage. Now, financially it wasn’t one in this case but it could have been.

          • KrisDStar

            Wrong. If the child is not 6 months old then the state of birth is the homestate. That is not up for argument, and the Judge agreed. You might want to try to read the link, because it is a link to the Judge’s ruling. And it actually lists the legal cases that establish home state.

            The child’s home state was NEVER Cali, because the child had never, ever been there.

            The first to call the police, wins. Actually no. The police will not do anything without a court order. And since there was no court order establishing paternity the father had no rights.

            It helps to actually read the cases before you go spewing your ignorance all around.

          • kd

            Not in New York, you are wrong. The judge didn’t agree, the apellete court said you can’t establish anything until the child is actually born. Which is true! Her movements, prior to birth, cannot be violated. However, he could refile in his state to establish it as the homestate, if she hadn’t established herself as a New York Residence. Going to college does not change your state of citizenship. Changing drivers license, voters registration, establishing rental lease, utilities, paying taxes, etc. In that case, a person could be visiting another state for a funeral, have a baby, return home, and thats the child’s home state. Also, if i attend college for a period of time but never establish residence in my new state then i am still a citizen of the state were my license and everything is accurate.
            You are wrong again, the father has the same rights as the mother. If someone tells you different, then they lied.

          • KrisDStar

            Wrong, wrong wrong yet again. Shall I type it out for you.
            First of all, the “father” doesn’t have any rights if he is not listed on the birth certificate as the father. You must establish a claim before you can be granted rights.
            You are an adult, and your residency is different. Students are not allowed to claim home state status for colleges if they are only there to attend college. That has nothing to do with this case. This is a custody case, in which the infant had NEVER lived outside of NY. The INFANTs home state is the one the infant is born in.
            Here you go:
            The UCCJEA “elevates the home state’ to paramount importance in both initial custody determinations and modifications of custody orders” (Gottlieb v Gottlieb, 103 AD3d 593, 594 [1st Dept 2013], quoting Matter of Michael McC. v Manuela A., 48 AD3d 91, 95 [1st Dept 2007], lv dismissed 10 NY3d 836 [2008]).

            See, hun, it’s law.

            Putative fathers have ***neither the right nor the ability to restrict a pregnant woman*** from her constitutionally-protected liberty (see Matter of Wilner v Prowda, 158 Misc 2d [*2]579 [Sup Ct, NY County 1993] [refusing the putative father’s request to determine custody of the parties’ unborn child and restrain his then-pregnant wife from leaving New York]).

            The appellate court overturned what a referee for the court determined. Not what a judge determined.
            Reading comprehension is key.

            What state would be listed on the infants birth certificate if it was born in Arizona, if the mother lived in Washington? It doesn’t matter why she was in Arizona, Arizona would be listed on the birth certificate.

            If you don’t change your DL you are breaking the law, as most states require you to change it over to the place in which you are living if you reside in the state for a period between 6 months and One year. So, you’d be breaking the law, good for you.

          • KrisDStar

            “If you never set up parenting time or
            custody rights in a court order, you can only have
            the child if it is okay with the custodial parent.
            This is because the law gives an unmarried
            mother sole legal and sole physical custody of
            the child. Only a court order can change that. If
            there is no court order, the custodial parent can
            change her mind about letting you see the child.”

            BOOM.
            “This is because the law gives an unmarried
            mother sole legal and sole physical custody of
            the child”

            That’s what I’ve been saying all along.

          • KrisDStar

            “The mother starts out automatically with sole physical and sole legal custody. This is because
            there is usually no question about who the mother is since she gave birth to the child. Because a father
            cannot be decided in the same way, the legal system waits for a signed Recognition of Parentage (ROP) or
            a court order that names a legal father. Only then can the father get the rights and responsibilities that are
            part of being a father”

            “When a child is born to an unmarried mother the child has no legal father until one is established by
            law. Establishing the father’s and child’s legal relationship is what is meant by “establishing
            paternity.”

          • Kelly S

            The fetus goes where she goes. You’re right, it is different. Men don’t get pregnant. You try to restrict a fetus’s movement, you restrict a grown woman’s movement. Please tell me how much you’d be in favor of restricting men’s movement based on who they knocked up and where. I’ll call you a liar.

          • Arekushieru

            And to Kelly S, Dance Commander!

          • dance commander

            Amen to that!

          • L-dan

            Why in the world do you keep insisting that traveling with an infant is exactly the same as traveling with a fetus in utero when it’s patently not the same?

            If this happened to a man I care about, I’d tell him he was an idiot for thinking that he gets to somehow claim that a child he conceived is a resident of his state instead of the state the child was born in.

          • Maryanna Price

            Getting custody of a fetus is the very definition of shady in my book.

            I have the great fortune to know a great many men and, in fact, am 1/2 male on my father’s side. My own father was (and continues to be to this very day) a kind, inspirational man who did a great deal more than play peek-a-boo. And, yet, he did not own my mother by virtue of splurting half of me into her. She was still entitled to freedom of movement (Article IV, Section 1, Clause 1) and all those other pesky constitutional rights.

          • Arekushieru

            “Some fathers do more than play peek-a-boo.”

            Sign of an MRA or, at the very least, a mansplainer, right here. Yes, we know that. But that is not what the MAJORITY of them do, so it’s REASONABLE for women, and thus the LAW COURTS, to expect that he WON’T. ESPECIALLY given the context, that he DIDN’T SEEK custody UNTIL she attempted to formalize a custody agreement.

            “You ought to think about how you’d feel if this happened to a man you cared about–like a brother, uncle, or good friend.”

            Oh, yes, you’re an MRA. That’s a quote feminists often use to talk about women, after all, and, here, you’re just using emotional manipulation in a disingenuous attempt to conflate the rights of men with the rights of women.

          • KrisDStar

            Actually, yes. As unwed mothers the women do have different rights. Without a court order legitimizing the child there is only one parent listed on the birth certificate – the mother. That would give her default sole custody.

          • kd

            Those are southern laws. NY and Cali, the mother can name the baby whatever but she can’t place his name on the bc. She actually has to file for custody in most states and make effort to notify the father.

          • KrisDStar

            If there is no father on the birth certificate then she is by default, the only parent. Is the state going to DNA test every male in the country? No. Without her willingly naming the father, then there is no father, and she is the sole custodian.

            No state requires that the mother notify the father, hence the Father’s Rights movement and the putative father registry.

            All a woman has to say is “I don’t know who the father is” and the matter is settled until the male decides to come forward on his own.

            If he never knew that she was pregnant, exactly how would he do that?

            In fact, how it works is, the father must submit to a DNA test and then petition the court to be ADDED to the birth certificate and obtain visitation rights. None are automatically granted to the male.

          • kd

            Read the article. If she wasn’t required to notify him and his name was not on the bc, then how did he find out about the petition for custody. She told the court he was the father and had to serve him. It is New York law. Filiation has to be established before child support and before custody. I know because i have done it. She would have had to take out an add in the paper and some other things to establish a good faith effort to notify the father. You may know GA child law but i am an expert in New York Family Law. She probably had not yet established herself as a New York residence. Just because you attend college in a state, does not mean you have state residence. PLEASE look up filiation. Mother and Father have to be designated prior to custody being granted. A more savvy woman would have waited a year but you are not awarded child support from birth but from when DNA is eatablished and filiation is determined.

          • KrisDStar

            He found out about the petition, genius, because she was required to send him a copy.

            She doesn’t have to take out an ad in the paper, that is to remove parental rights, which he had none of, because he was a putative, not a legal, father.

            Her residence doesn’t matter, genius. The infants residence does. The mother could have been a resident of the Moon, and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

            The mother is already established at birth, hun. Unless, maybe you are unaware of exactly how an infant is INSIDE of the mothers body? The mothers custody is automatic at birth. There is no question as to who the mother is. The question, is who the father is. Any man can claim to be the father – not any woman can claim to be the mother.

            Biology, sweetness, do you speak it?

          • kd

            Who told you this? In New York, she is just the parent of record. She would just be the only parent because you have to establish custody through the courts. Custody is not a right. If she says to the court, she doesn’t know who the father is, then she can keep the child but she can’t make any request for support from anyone. She still would have to take out adds in the paper and attempt to make contact to take his parental rights or establish custody. If she lies and he comes forward and can prove she knew then she can be held for perjury. Look in your local paper. Next to bankruptcy, buying property, you will see a section where women put adds in the paper to establish custody or to take parental rights from fathers.
            Actually, the man or the woman can petition the court to establish filiation through DNA marker test. When filiation is established, he is automatically placed on the bc. Then they set up a date to establish child support. Throughout this time she and he have equal standing in the eyes of the law. Also, in New York his travel expenses to establish a relationship with the child are considered if cp is awarded.

          • KrisDStar

            Wrong. Custody rights come after the establishment of paternity. You cannot establish paternity without a father submitting to a DNA test if the mother and the father are not married.

            She cannot be held for perjury, in case you were unaware, a hospital is not a court of law, and she did not swear to tell the truth.

            The ads, hun, are for fathers who are listed already on the birth certificate, and the mother is trying to remove them.

            He is not automatically placed on the birth certificate. He must petition the court, because birth certificates cannot be amended without a court order.

            She and he do not have equal standing under the law, because until the time the court order is signed he is considered a *putative* father. Google the big words, sweetness. It will help you out.

          • KrisDStar

            Just the “parent of record?” Nice try. Try again. I’ve already replied about how the mother has sole legal and physical custody of the child. And the “father” has none until established by court order.

            Educate yourself before you keep on making silly claims.

          • KrisDStar

            Uhm, he never travelled to NY to see the child.
            ” After the birth of his son, he declined invitations to come to New York and meet him. ”

            See what good reading skill can lead to? Information.
            Your just blabbering on about things that don’t even have anything to do with this case at all.

          • KrisDStar

            The only requirement that the mother “make effort” to notify the father is if the mother is applying for welfare. Then the State wants to recoup the $ from the father. Otherwise, she is under no obligation to hunt down a dead beat dad herself.

          • cjvg

            That is NOT the correct analogy.
            The correct analogy would be that right after birth she child in the hospital and expects the father to take it home and care for it.
            Subsequently she never makes any attempt to see the child again regardless of several invitations to visit from the father.!
            She never saw her child except for the one unavoidable time at the birth of the child!
            The father gets an out of state opportunity to have a better job or make more money and in order to better provide for the child he is raising alone he leaves the state without her raising a single objection!
            After settling in in his new life and still no visit or even an attempt by the mother to contact her child he finally files for sole custody!
            However no the mother decides that she wants to keep ownership and fights it.
            THAT is what a true analogy would be and you would condemn this mother whole heartedly as being unfit if this was the case.
            You sir, arew no feminist and not even remotely honest in this debate!

          • lady_black

            That ISN’T WHAT HAPPENED. She left the state before there was a child. Nobody got on a plane with a child after it was born. You sound about as silly as my ex.

        • BirdieBlue

          Why does he get to have a reasonable expectation that his child would be born in California? Because she lived there at the time that they had sex? If I’m on vacation in Florida and hook up with someone there, get pregnant, and decide to keep the child do I have an obligation to stay within a certain distance of where the copulation took place? Your premise is absurd.

          And, no, I don’t think anyone should have the legal right to force a woman to do anything based on presumed risk to a fetus, period. Fetuses have no rights, as they are not persons. Treating women as incubators against their will is abhorrent. There is no gray area, and that is the point of the article.

          Now, once the child was born, the issue is entirely different, as the article makes clear. The child has rights, as do both parents, and the court realistically needs to weigh those issues. I certainly agree that now that the child is born, there is an issue to be weighed by the courts if the parents can’t come to an agreement. But there is no such thing as “custody of a fetus”, and there is no such thing as equal parental rights until one is actually a parent – non-birthing parents aren’t parents until birth.

          • OGalaxy

            Yes, because they both lived there at the time when the child was conceived. Exactly.

            Let’s present a different scenario: she has the baby in California and a week after it’s born, she moves to New York and starts custody proceedings.

          • BirdieBlue

            But that’s not what happened.

            It’s funny to me how you keep wanting to argue what should have happened based on these wild hypothetical situations about pregnant women slamming 12-packs on a nightly basis and yet ignore the reality that this is clearly a situation where a man was fine with having nothing to do with his child until the child’s mother threatened his presumed legal right to control her and his son at whim.

          • Kelly S

            “Yes, because they both lived there at the time when the child was conceived. Exactly.” That’s absolutely stupid. Nothing is determined by where someone was conceived. Nowhere in the world. By this failure of logic, if someone is conceived in Canada and born in the US, they’re Canadian. That’s simply ridiculous and I think you’re playing stupid on purpose.

          • margaretdblough

            If she did that, he would have had no problem getting the NY proceeding dismissed for one basic reason. NY couldn’t have jurisdiction in that scenario. There are no substantial ties for the child in NY and the mother couldn’t establish residency that quickly. California would have incontestably been the home state under the interstate compacts.

          • KrisDStar

            So? She can move any times she wants to. Even after custody is agreed upon people can move. Nobody is bound to stay in a state because they have a child. That is ridiculous.

          • JamieHaman

            Texas can and does require parents stay in the state, and often does put a mileage limit on how far parents can move, the usual is a 75 mile away moving limit, and it is to keep parents from moving out of state without the consent (although it isn’t called consent) of the other parent. It usually is imposed on the custodial parent, but can and has been imposed on both parents regardless of who has custody.

          • KrisDStar

            Only because nobody in Texas has challenged that yet. Once someone does, it will be struck down, like the other states.

          • whatareuthinking

            Unfortunately here in MA I was dragged into court for trying to move 45 minutes away from an ex that refused to pay child support and paid close to ZERO attention to the children. It’s all about power and control. The judge threw out his motion, especially since I was moving in order to be closer to a job that was 3x the salary I was making.

          • KrisDStar

            Good for the judge.
            Sorry you had to even go through it at all.

          • lady_black

            For good measure, I would have asked the court to hand me a judgment for the back support owed so I could garnish his wages.

          • cjvg

            yeah lets go with that scenario and retain his actual treatment of the “child”
            She has the baby he is NOT at the birth or visits in the hospital
            He is given the opportunity for visitation he declines to do so
            So at no point he has made any attempts to see his child or has even requested to see his child, he has even actively declined several invitations to do so!
            However as soon as he is notified that (because of his physical and emotional abandonment of this child that he has never laid eyes upon)he will lose the custody (something that is nominally a possession of his) he was never interested in in the first place, he becomes interested?!
            Seems that all this really is, is a man who is suffering from fear of loss of ownership, versus the reality of actually being a father.
            Beeing a father is NOT having legal custody without ever even seeing your child or interacting with your child, being a father is at least being able to recognize your child if you would ever be asked to pick it up from school or daycare!

          • KrisDStar

            If the child wasn’t legitimized and he wasn’t listed on the birth certificate as the father, and he had no legal custody agreement, then yes – she could have moved after giving birth.

          • lady_black

            So if I “conceive a child” on vacation in Cancun, and the father is someone who was also vacationing in Cancun, both of us are required to relocate there? Do you even think about the crapola you post?

          • Arekushieru

            Well, I don’t think it would matter even if a fetus WAS a person.

        • L-dan

          Why is it more hardship for him to apply for custody through New York vs. forcing her to remain in CA simply because she’s pregnant? He has no rights over her at all. Nor does he have rights to a fetus.

          No, we do not lose our rights as autonomous persons simply because a fetus has taken up residence.

          Additionally, efforts were made to include him and he showed no interest until she tried to gain sole custody (sensible if he has nothing to do with the child). So I really don’t see that he has a leg to stand on there.

          • OGalaxy

            I never said he has rights to the fetus. Once the child is born, he does have rights. We feminists raise a stink about how closing clinics puts an undue burden of cost on women seeking abortion and other reproductive health services (because it forces them to travel) but you’re going to sit here and argue that it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a man to have the funds to travel across the country for a custody hearing when both parents were living in the same state at the time of conception?

            I’m not judging the mother or father in this case. Neither of them sound like ideal parents to me. Nor am I saying a person loses their rights because they are pregnant.

          • KrisDStar

            Yep. If he wants to be an involved father, that includes a financial obligation. The mother should drop her entire life because she got pregnant so she can make the child available to the father? Then the entire burden of moving and relocating and finding another job, another home, falls on her shoulders.
            This is why most custody agreements state that the receiving parent is responsible for transportation costs.

            Who cares where the conception took place? What if it took place in a location that neither of them lived? Would they both have to travel to the place of conception for custody issues?

            Court cases cost money. If he filed knowing that NY had legal jurisdiction then that is his problem. States already have rules in place that cover jurisdiction. Anyone who paid attention in polisci class understands jurisdiction. In no state does “conception” even come into play regarding jurisdiction.

          • Kelly S

            “We” feminists? Oh honey no. Don’t pretend to be anything other than a delusional MRA.

          • L-dan

            Yeah, I left that one lie for the moment. It will become ever more obvious as the debate ranges onward. True colors and all that.

          • dance commander

            If I remember correctly, Galaxy is a well known troll around these parts…

          • colleen2

            He’s a guy who believes motherhood is a duty, and obligation while ‘fatherhood’ is a right and opportunity to abuse and exploit women.

          • L-dan

            But you basically are saying he has rights to the fetus if you feel it’s reasonable to expect that the pregnant person will remain in place until the baby is born simply because of the father’s parental rights.

            You’re saying it’s unreasonable to expect a father to travel across the country for a custody hearing, so instead the mother should? Wouldn’t her funds be even more impacted given that she’d have to buy tickets for two or arrange for child care while she travels?

            Why in the world is it reasonable to assume that someone is going to stay put for nine months out of their life just because they’re pregnant? Particularly when he showed no interest in the upcoming child? The fact that they’re living in the same place at the time of conception places no obligation on either party to stay put. How many conceptions happen in college, when the involved parties are very likely to be in different places nine months out? Given that she moved for school, that’s a reasonable comparison.

            Nobody here is saying he shouldn’t have any parental rights. But they are saying that he can’t expect the world to revolve around him in that regard. The mother of his son has a life too, and there is no reason that the conception, rather than the birth, of the boy should be the determining factor as far as *his* residency.

          • colleen2

            Please do not pretend to be a feminist. It’s obvious what you are.

          • lady_black

            Moving the goalposts from our original claim, are we? A common troll tactic.

        • margaretdblough

          At what point, prior to her filing for sole custody, did he give her the slightest indication that he had ANY intention of playing the slightest role in the child’s life once born? He marries another woman, he doesn’t follow up on her invitations to meet the child (If he can afford to have attorneys represent him in the NY proceedings, he could afford a round trip plane ticket to NY and back). You compare her to a woman recklessly engaging in conduct known to be harmful to her fetus. I see a woman who accepts the likelihood that the man who got her pregnant doesn’t want to play any role in their child’s life and takes responsible steps to be that child’s emotional and financial support. Short of being psychic, what basis did she have to believe that he had any interest in the fetus when she moved?

        • Kelly S

          “I am arguing that either parent may not up and leave the state with the child on a permanent basis without the consent of the other parent, or that the court would have to grant custody in such a case.” You’re a fool. You really think people would go for this, and there is any legal way to enforce it? I guarantee if this were reversed, this dude who walked away would be screaming about his rights if a judge said he couldn’t move anywhere. And that would be logical, since we don’t live in a fascist police state just yet.

          • L-dan

            Depending on the custody agreements, there sometimes are restrictions placed on movement of custodial parents, or moving requires a return to court to hash out a new agreement, etc. Usually, a custodial parent can’t just up and move children away from the non-custodial parent without some sort of agreement taking place. Obviously that varies from state to state, type of custody, details of the original judgements, etc.

            However, that’s with a child involved, not a fetus. In this case, the kid was born in NY and is therefore a resident of NY.

          • KrisDStar

            Those custody agreements limiting moving have gone to court, and most of them don’t hold up, because courts cannot legally restrict the movement of adults or children.
            As long as the custody arrangement is still being honored, then the courts cannot dictate that a person stay in one place.

          • L-dan

            No, but they can rearrange custody based on that, among other things (it’s more beneficial for the kids not to change schools, for example, meaning they stay put with the formerly non-custodial parent). This, or the fear of it, can be a de-facto limitation on moving for someone who doesn’t want to leave their kids behind.

            Plus, if such an agreement exists initially, even if it’s non-enforceable, you’re going to be spending time and money fighting it. I’ve known folks who found it easier to just let it lie, stay put until the kids were 18 and then move on with their lives.

            Family law is messy. I can even understand the frustrations of some of the fathers that MRA’s want to hold up as examples of injustice. Sadly, the wave of misogynist crap that comes with it, and the other cases that are utterly bogus, tend to drown out the legitimate frustrations with the system. Like, this case, for example, where they don’t have even a toe to stand on.

          • KrisDStar

            Rarely the non-custodial parent gets custody due to a move. They cannot punish the mother for moving. And that is what it would be. What usually happens is a custody modification adjusting visitation time.
            Georgia won’t even put in a custody agreement limiting movement anymore. Nor will they put in the clauses about opposite sex visitation/sleep overs etc while the child is in the home.

            At most what you can hope to get is limiting alcohol use while the child is in the home, but those have also been challenged, and have not stood.

          • L-dan

            Good to know. I’ll grant that most of my divorce horror stories based on personal acquaintances are a bit dated since current acquaintances are (knock on wood) all happily settled in their relationships/singleness/etc. save one set. And that one has been stressful in a bunch of cliched ways (party dad!) but not actively horrible in the same way.

            Glad to see things moving onward at least slowly. Though after seeing the article, also a NY case iirc, that wanted to use the mother’s abortion as evidence of being less fit for custody, I do wish it would move faster.

          • KrisDStar

            There is certainly a long way to go with custody fairness, including financial fairness. Some states are moving forward at a faster pace. I guess it just depends on which women are willing to challenge court orders that they deem unconstitutional.

          • kd

            You are right and wrong. The court can’t stop a parent from moving but it can stop a parent from crossing state or city boundries with a child. It can also say that you can go but the child remains.

          • KrisDStar

            Actually, no. A parent has the legal right to move a child where ever the adult wants to. The legal guardian can move the child to a different state every day if the guardian wanted.
            Courts restrict movement of children due to custodial disagreements, which is an entirely different issue, and one that deals with an already born child, that has rights – and that “belongs” to both parents.

            States are no longer restricting child movement in custody issues because that would be limiting the adult, and according to the constitution, people are allowed to move freely in the US.

          • kd

            Again right and wrong. The custodial parent or legal giardian can move a child wherever but that is based on a judges ruling but a parent with no established custody can not. Also a judge can change the custodial parent if the movements hender the child’s progress or best interest. Stability is desired. If she hasn’t established custody they share it. They also have to prove the movement benefits the child. I have seen a court limit a parents movement because the child could not be taken out of state. You are tallking off of your feelings and not facts.

        • KrisDStar

          Wrong. In no way can any person tell another person that they can or cannot move simply because they share a child.
          Constitutionally, citizens are allowed to move to whatever state they want, whenever they want. Having a child does not remove constitutional rights.

        • Arekushieru

          “But he had a reasonable expectation that the child would live in California after it was born.”

          Uh, what? What would even GIVE you that idea?

          And, no, there is no obvious grey area. A woman either has autonomy or she doesn’t. DERP.

          I would prefer the kind of man who didn’t attempt to (legally) force a woman to do something that he could never be legally forced to do by HER. Because THAT is the equation you’re missing. It’s purely because of *biological* sexism that he would be able to enforce something legally in such an instance. (A woman should not have her rights abrogated because of biology, either, y’know.) Feminism does not equate with sexism… NOR biological essentialism.

          Nope, YOU are granting superior rights to MEN. DERP, again.

          • KrisDStar

            Yeah, I don’t get how OGalaxy thinks the father had any expectation that the mother would remain in Cali. Even if he did “expect” her to, that has no bearing on if she should.

        • whatareuthinking

          Seriously? He had NO interest in even meeting his child! He married someone else. This sounds like an unplanned pregnancy and he was perfectly happy to stay out of it and have nothing to do with the fetus or the ensuing child. She, on the other hand, is drastically changing her lifestyle in order to provide for her child.

        • lady_black

          Moving YOURSELF, while pregnant, is not “moving a father’s child out of state without consent.” There IS no “child” and depending upon what happens, there my never be a child. He has a TON of chutzpah (but no rights) to expect her to return to California and raise the child there. She doesn’t have to do that. EVER. If a potential father wants to have rights, he must wait until there is a child and establish his paternity. The same goes for the woman if she wants to pursue support. No one ever was awarded child support for a fetus, and in fact, when a paternity claim is made, the putative father has two choices 1) sign an acknowledgment of paternity, or 2) deny paternity and request DNA testing. Upon making his choice he will either be adjudicated the father or not, and then can begin to exercise his rights and obligations. None of this requires the mother to locate herself in the same jurisdiction as the father. There are trains, planes and automobiles.

    • fiona64

      There is no child until birth. Period.

      • Ella Warnock

        ^^This.

    • L-dan

      “Is it really fair to expect a man to move or travel across the country
      to see his child or engage in a custody hearing? And on a more personal
      (non-legal) level, what kind of mother takes her child that far from the
      father anyway (assuming he is not a danger to the child)? Think about a
      man in your life whom you care about, and imagine if he got some woman
      pregnant and she moved across the country before giving birth with the
      intention of staying across the country. How can anyone think that is
      fair to the father?”

      Is it really fair to expect a pregnant person to put all their plans on hold and remain within shouting distance of the father of the child they expect to have? On a personal level, what kind of father pays no attention to his son, marries someone else, and still expects the mother of said son to drop everything in *her* life when he suddenly decides to take an interest in his child? How can anyone think that would be fair to the mother?

    • Beatrix S.L

      I agree. If the woman plans to give birth and the father wants to be involved, then yes he can plan on custody rights.

      • L-dan

        However, he can’t claim the child is a resident of the state it was conceived in, rather than the state it was born in.

    • JamieHaman

      What gives this father any reasonable expectation that this woman would have his child in California? Or that the custody case should be held in same? The fact that he married another woman?

      If the unborn child is not a person, how in the world can a father have legal rights to protect anything?
      Why do you even begin to think his “rights” are more important than hers?

    • Kelly S

      why would he have a “reasonable” expectation that a child whose mother lived in new york would be born in california? why on earth would she go back for the birth? that’s a pretty illogical assumption.

      “At the very least, she should have returned to California shortly after the child’s birth.” Why?

      He already chose NOT to go see his child. He didn’t care about her or the coming child when she still lived there. He doesn’t give one shit, he just wants to harass her. How is this “unfair” to the man who showed himself to be uninterested?If she lived in CA, he’d just be a deadbeat dad.

    • Arekushieru

      But it would be reasonable to expect her to move TWICE for him? You do realize HE’S the one who helped cause the pregnancy with her, right? Therefore, she needed to move out of state since she DECIDED TO KEEP THE PREGNANCY and firefighting would have been dangerous, and there would have been no guarantee that she would be able to keep the job after her leave, because of HIM.

      One can not be a mother or father or parent at least until birth.

      Also, have you not read the article??? Because it CLEARLY states that the man showed no interest in the child UNTIL SHE SOUGHT CUSTODY. Which leads me to believe, and most other reasonable people, that he just didn’t want to pay child support and actually had no expectation of securing custody.

      He has parental rights, but granting him the legal right to protect his ‘unborn child’ would abrogate HER rights, which is NOT supportive of feminism. SFS. DERP.

    • colleen2

      “But I also think that a father has rights.

      All this guy did was ejaculate. He evinced ZERO responsibility towards ‘his’ child. Biological fatherhood is a responsibility, not a right.

    • VLDBurnett

      I would be a lot more sympathetic to this sort of argument if the guy had, from day 1 shown a desire to be involved in his future child’s life. If he had asked her not to move and she disregarded it, if it seemed like she was trying to stop him from having a relationship with his child. However, she informed him she was moving and he said nothing. She had the child, he didn’t visit, despite the fact that she invited him, by the sounds of it, more than once. His FIRST sign of interest in the child, if we can call it interest, was to raise this case, at which point he acts like he has been wronged the whole time. She was applying to schools in California, something tells me had he wanted to be involved she would have taken that into account. It really does appear as though this is a spiteful, vindictive move on his part.

      • KrisDStar

        Even IF he had wanted to be an involved father, there was no way to compel her to remain in California. She has the legal right to move wherever she wants, and she did.

        • VLDBurnett

          Exactly. Given that she gave him the opportunity to be involved, I imagine she would have taken his opinion into consideration. But she does have the right to move. I guess when I say sympathetic, I mean I would have said something to the effect of “yeah, that’s rough, but what can you do.” But I have no sympathy for this man.

    • lady_black

      “Is it really fair to expect a man to move or travel across the country to see his child or engage in a custody hearing?”
      Yes.

  • dakota923

    Oh yes, by all means she should do everything she can to give parental access to a man who didn’t give a shit about the child until she made the move to get sole custody. He doesn’t care about anything but causing problems. If he did where was he while she was pregnant, when the baby was born or when he was offered access to the child for visits.. he was too busy with his new life and new wife.

    • Arekushieru

      THIS. If those bemoaning the ‘unfairness’ and ‘bias’ towards men in custody cases would just read this, they would realize that the ACTUAL unfairness and bias actually leans more towards WOMEN. DERP.

  • Jenn

    The father didn’t need to appear in court in New York. If she had reasonable belief that he didn’t want any role in the child’s life, all she has to do is file paperwork to gain sole custody and send him papers to sign. He decided to raise a stink and make things difficult. She wasn’t a bitter ex with an agenda. She was (is) a single mother that wanted to make it official on paper that he didn’t want to claim the child as his own.

    • KrisDStar

      In most states (well, Georgia I know for sure) if the mother is unwed, then a father cannot be listed unless the father is present and signs a paternity acknowledgment before the infant leaves the hospital.
      She should have never filed anything at all. He had no legal rights to the child until he got a paternity test, which he didn’t do until she had already filed for sole custody. There is the potential that if she hadn’t filed anything, he would have never asked for a paternity test, and she could have kept on living with the child as the sole custodian. Rights are only granted to parents. If she would have been the only parent listed on the birth certificate, she could have by default, retained sole custody. The trade off would have been that she couldn’t ask for child support, since there wasn’t a legal father listed on the birth certificate.
      But, it may have been a trade off that worked more in her favor.
      At least, that is how it works here in Georgia.

      • JamieHaman

        That’s an excellent deal for women in Georgia. Point to you.

        • KrisDStar

          It was actually developed by the paternal rights groups.
          Otherwise women could name any man as the father and expect to collect child support.
          In Georgia, once a name is listed on the birth certificate, it cannot be removed. Period. So, before the new “protections” I could have named Brad Pitt as the father and expected to collect child support. It was developed to protect men from being named legally and financially responsible for a child that is not their own.
          On the flip side, married couples must both be listed on the birth certificate.
          If I was cheating on husband, and husband knew, and the other man knew he was the father, legally only my husband could be listed as the father on the birth certificate. The other man would have no paternal rights, and my husband would be legally and financially responsible for the child. Even if everyone agreed that the child was not his, even if DNA testing showed the child was not his.
          Any children born in a marriage are considered the result of that marriage. Even if they really aren’t.
          It’s an odd state. Their laws don’t always make any sense.

          • Arekushieru

            “Otherwise women could name any man as the father and expect to collect child support.”

            Except, I doubt that really happened, all that often, if at all.

            But, to flip that around, does that mean that a woman does not necessarily need to sign the birth certificate even once she does give birth? If so, it’s possible for a man to sign the birth certificate and claim whatever woman as the mother. If not, then that’s a sign of misogyny, not paternal rights being removed as MRAs like to claim, again. She is AUTOMATICALLY signed as the mother on the birth certificate, just because she has given birth, then. Therefore, she can never remove her rights, herself.

            And that last is similar to the father’s case with the married couple. As well as the woman who gave birth to a child through an affair with him.

            But, further to an analogous case of a married couple with the very first option I listed (where the woman who gives birth is not required to sign the birth certificate), would not the woman in a married relationship be listed as the mother on the birth certificate, if her husband had a relationship with another woman?

            And what about adoptive (in which I am including step-) parents? You see, I have an uncle and aunt who are BOTH step-parents. And even though both of them were willing to outright adopt their stepchildren, the respective parents (biological vs step-father on the one and biological vs step-mother on the other) on either side were unwilling to let them do so. Even though it was both my aunt and uncle who were more involved in their upbringing. Especially so on my uncle’s side. That reveals, though, how both sides are equally at a disadvantage, and how paternal rights advocates and MRAs are focusing on the wrong ‘enemies’, once again.

            If there IS an enemy, it’s *misogyny* NOT misandry.

          • KrisDStar

            No, if there is no marriage only the mother is allowed to fill out the birth certificate. Since she has sole custody from birth. The mothers name is automatic at birth – there isn’t an option to list any mother other than the person who gave birth, unless you have special at birth adoption papers. But those require that they be signed in front of the vitals officer.

            She can remove her rights, by giving the child up for adoption, or relinquishing her rights to the child to the father, grandparents, etc. But she will still be listed as the mother on the birth certificate.

            Also in GA, if you relinquish your rights to a child for custody issues, it does not release you from child support obligations. You are sill legally required to pay child support. Unless you have relinquished your rights, and a step parent has adopted the child, and therefore takes financial responsibility.

            No, because the wife did not give birth. The woman who gave birth would be listed as the mother. If the woman was not married then there would be no father listed unless the father volunteered to sign the paternity acknowledgement at the time of birth, or the mother files to have the child legitimated through DNA testing.

            There have been cases where single women listed men who they knew or suspected were not the father. Which is why the paternal rights groups had the laws changed.

          • Arekushieru

            “She can remove her rights, by giving the child up for adoption, or
            relinquishing her rights to the child to the father, grandparents, etc.
            But she will still be listed as the mother on the birth certificate.

            Also in GA, if you relinquish your rights to a child for custody
            issues, it does not release you from child support obligations. You are
            still legally required to pay child support. Unless you have
            relinquished your rights, and a step parent has adopted the child, and
            therefore takes financial responsibility.

            No, because the wife did not give birth. The woman who gave birth
            would be listed as the mother. If the woman was not married then there
            would be no father listed unless the father volunteered to sign the
            paternity acknowledgement at the time of birth, or the mother files to
            have the child legitimated through DNA testing.”

            All of which is essentially what I was saying. That there is bias towards BOTH men and women in the court systems. But paternal rights advocates and MRAs would prefer to focus on the bias against men and see women as the perpetrators. Which brings me to my second point:

            “There have been cases where single women listed men who they knew or
            suspected were not the father. Which is why the paternal rights groups
            had the laws changed.”;

            I DID say that it may happen, but RARELY, if it did, at all. And, I think it likely that the reason these women named someone else as the father was because of fear, of abuse, of harassment, of isolation, etc…, brought on namely by these men (or ones such as them), so, again, we have paternal rights advocates wrongfully blaming women for their woes, and refusing to take a look at the REAL causes.

          • KrisDStar

            Agreed.

          • JamieHaman

            Thanks for sharing the rest of that law, I don’t live in Ga., had no idea. Do know Louisiana has some thing similar, but don’t know the details.
            Ga. refusal to change a name listed on the birth certificate is more than a little extreme to me, as does the married father requirement. Odd is right, really doesn’t make sense.

          • KrisDStar

            The whole thing behind it was that pregnancy in marriages are the responsibility of the married party. It’s an archaic way of thinking, and a way for the state to regulate reproduction, rights of custody, and inheritance rights.

      • Arekushieru

        Not really, since the woman ultimately not only had to give up what could have proven to be a much more lucrative position and go to school in another state (so, adding in travel and educational costs), but she will likely receive less pay than her male counterpart would in a similar position.

        • KrisDStar

          The reason she went back to school was to get into a better career. You don’t know if she had family in NY that she was living with, or if she had a scholarship, etc. etc.

          • Arekushieru

            “After becoming pregnant, she decided to quit firefighting and instead go
            to college, figuring as a single mother the benefits of a college
            degree outweigh the risks inherent in firefighting.”

            Nor do we know that she went to college to get into a better career (I’m assuming you mean financially, because that is what I’m referring to), just by that statement alone.

            Also, a number of other factors lead me to believe that it’s not likely that she has family living there, nor does a scholarship cover everything. But that is neither here nor there. It should at least be the default assumption that she does not have family living there, or that she did not receive a scholarship that would cover her full expenses, especially if those issues weren’t specifically addressed in the article, itself.

          • KrisDStar

            The point is, which you have missed, it doesn’t matter WHY she moved. She has the right to move for any reason, or no reason. She doesn’t have to justify her move.

  • Kelly S

    by this logic, if someone is conceived in say canada, but born in the US, they’re canadian. no. this is not how it works. such a dumb thing to claim, that someone’s “residence” is based on where they’re conceived.

    • KrisDStar

      The right wingers would have a stroke if conception equated citizenship. How would they ever prove that “illegals” were not conceived in the US?

    • dance commander

      Which would be another unintended consequence of zygote person hood laws…and basically, women would have to be recognized as pregnant at all times in order to prevent and punish ‘child abuse’.

      • Ella Warnock

        Ugh, my upvotes don’t ever show up, do they? Well, this ^^.

    • CJ99

      Makes me wish my parents were astronauts then I’d be exempt from such repuglicrap lunacy.

  • goatini

    Bode Miller did NOT want this child – he texted the mother when she asked him to go to an ultrasound appointment with her, “U made this choice against my wish”. He is a vicious misogynist pig who wants, most of all, to hurt the mother in the worst way possible.

    Miller’s vicious, selfish bride, who was ALSO pregnant when he married her, while the mother was 5 months into the pregnancy that he most emphatically did NOT want, is attempting to steal this child away from its mother. This awful woman (she and Miller are vile people who deserve each other) posted on a blog that the child that is NOT hers deserves “a loving and balanced family” with her and the snake Miller – because the child’s mother is attending university. The snake wife suffered a miscarriage of HER pregnancy, so these two vipers are conspiring to steal a child away from his mother, and to base this reprehensible action on legal precedent that says that woman are nothing more than baby ovens to be exploited by vicious males (and the vicious women who conspire with them).

    These two vipers make me sick. They even call the child a different name than his ACTUAL name.

    I hope the mother prevails in court to get custody back from the vicious vipers. And I hope Bode Miller’s Olympic performance suffers mightily.

  • cetj98168

    Dude didn’t marry her, he has no say in her life.

  • lady_black

    The child was born in NY, not CA.

  • KrisDStar

    She should have said nothing, done nothing, and left it alone. She had custody (sole) but she wasn’t getting child support.
    Too bad she didn’t do some research first. She would have found out that she would have remained the sole legal and physical custodian until he filed for paternity testing – which it doesn’t seem like he was very interested in doing.

  • cjvg

    If you marry a woman you do not own her body!
    Yes she is still allowed to travel and leave you after she married you.