Order in child support case garners attention, to be appealed

It is certainly an extreme and outlier type of case in the realm of child support, but it is not without precedent and could gain some traction in other jurisdictions if it survives legal challenge on appeal.

In a nutshell, the case holding — issued recently by an Ohio probate judge — states this: A non-custodial parent who has fathered four children and is close to $100,000 in arrears in his support obligations for their upkeep has been ordered by the court to abstain from having any more children for the next five years.

That order, says that man’s attorney, violates his constitutional rights, including his right to procreate.

Not so, says the judge, who says that attending to parental duties involving children already fathered trumps any right to have more children.

“This is a matter of common sense and parental responsibility,” the judge stated in regard to his ruling, adding that violation of its terms will result in the defendant’s going to prison for a year.

Other courts have issued similar rulings, most recently in Wisconsin, where that state’s Supreme Court upheld an abstinence order issued by a lower court.

An earlier Ohio ruling mandating no more children for a defendant was struck down by Ohio’s Supreme Court several years ago for being overly broad and not including any possibility for a father to satisfy conditions and escape its terms. The judge in the current case noted that and included a possibility for his ban to be lifted if the defendant proves he is complying.

An appeal is forthcoming, with the man’s attorney stating that, “The court can’t dictate common sense and personal responsibility.”

Source: Chronicle-Telegram, “Judge tells man who owes nearly $100k in child support to stop having children,” Brad Dicken, Jan. 24, 2013

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