Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Go West, Young Man

Virginian John Wyatt, 22, is headed to Utah because that's where his daughter Emma lives.

The 18-month-old isn't living with her mother or any biological family member. She resides with the Utah couple who adopted her immediately following her birth. Wyatt wasn't at the birth in a Virginia hospital with the Virginia woman he impregnated but wasn't married to. He showed up later only to find mother and child gone. "Pursuing" a legal education, he now learns that — at least according to the law as applied by Utah courts so far — you snooze, you lose [your daughter].

There are a bunch of questions to be answered such as why the "happy couple" weren't married and how Wyatt could have missed the big day if he was so involved. Admittedly, there is also the ENORMOUS philosophical question of whether a single dad who is 22 can be as good for a child as a married and settled couple (and how can we ever tell in the abstract what is best for the child's future). But those aren't questions for the courts. The question for the court is who gets to change baby Emma and rock her to sleep and deal with her teenage angst and then (irony spoiler alert!) give her away at marriage. At least today we're siding with the Virginia courts which disagree with the Utah courts and found in favor of Wyatt ... not that this seems to have done much good because before Wyatt has ever seen her — again, 18 months after her birth and presumably after doing some very strong bonding with her step-parents — Emma is still with the Zarembinskis in Utah.

No comments: