Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Alabama's Putative Father Registry - Part II

Yesterday, we looked at a specific Lauderdale County adoption case in which the Putative Father Registry Law was used to end any legal rights of a 19 year-old biological father. First, has this law been declared unconstitutional? Appeals courts have overturned specific cases on the grounds that the father had established paternity by DNA testing before the time limit had expired or that the father had led an active role in the child's life for ten years or other similar justifications. Apparently Judge Jimmy Sandlin, does not think those specific cases nullify the entire law. In all probability, an Alabama Appeals Court will decide this case as well.

Second, is 30 days enough time for a putative father to attempt to establish paternity? Obviously there has to be some time limit. For every day a child is in the care of the state, it loses precious time with the adoptive parents. For every day a child is in the care of the state, we the taxpayers support the child. If the State of Alabama should extend this time limit, what would be a fair time limit? If any of you think this law is unfair, please contact your state legislators about changing it; however, we would think 30 days would be sufficient time for any potential father to come forward unless there were extenuating circumstances.

The biological grandfather of the child in question has again contacted us, stating his main thrust in this matter is to have the law changed and not to dredge up specifics in this case. We can understand his reasoning in this matter; however, while we will not further mention any names, we will address some posts that have been made by others on the Courthouse Forum as well as Facebook.

Whenever custody is challenged, the state appoints a Guardian ad Litem who in turn makes a recommendation concerning the case. This GAL is, or should be, totally impartial in his or her findings. The GAL in this case has been called "an old washed up attorney who doesn't believe in God." Another poster wrote, "there is factual knowledge of child swapping/trading in Judge Sandlin's court...GALs are notoriously dirty in this county." Some person with a pathology beyond our ken wrote that an adoptive parent cannot love a child as much as a "real parent." I doubt that the Guardian ad Litem is seriously upset by these remarks, but they do demonstrate the thinking, or non-thinking, of those seeking to overturn Judge Sandlin's decision.

While I'm sure the biological father has many good qualities, it does take a certain amount of maturity and commitment to bring up a child. This young man's Facebook contains an icon advocating "Free Love," as well as listing his membership in Friends of Lil Steve's, Louie Louie's, and College Campus's Need an Open Bar (a UNA group advocating liquor on demand 24/7)--remember this young man has not yet reached the legal age to consume alcohol in Alabama.

Indeed, there are many morals in this sad tale; however, we will leave you with just one:

If you have unsafe and unprotected sex, you either demonstrate that you do not care about yourself or your partner, or you demonstrate that you are not intelligent enough to know how to protect yourself. Either way, it speaks volumes about you.