Thursday, 9 September 2010

Gays and lesbians should think before they have kids: court case

A recent Family Court case is a clear illustration for those thinking of having children: get advice before acting. In the case of Wilson and Farmer v Roberts and Boston, a gay couple and a lesbian couple were at loggerheads almost from the word go about a now 2 year old boy, called "E" in the judgment.

E was conceived in the usual way for such a child: sperm donation. Mr Farmer and Mr Wilson were friends with Ms Roberts and Ms Boston. Mr Wilson and Ms Boston had been friends for 17 years. The women asked the men if they would supply sperm so that a child could be conceived. The men always wanted to be fathers.

What was not considered, at sufficient length, was what role the men would play after the child was born.
The women evidently thought, at some level at least,  that the men would play a minimal role. The men however thought that they would play a substantial role. The result was fairly predictable: disaster:  counselling, followed by mediation then followed by a court case that at trial lasted 12 days.There was a complete breakdown of trust and respect between the four parties. There is no question that the court process would have cost a fortune, many tens of thousands of dollars each: money that could have been better spent on E.

I will write another post properly analysing this case. In the meantime, it is good to reflect that the couples should have had realistic and convergent aims before the child was born, that there should have been consideration by the women in particular as to what role the men should play after the birth of E, that may be they should have considered counselling together before the child was born, and certainly they should have obtained legal advice before the child was born. Once the child was born it was all too late.

Thank you to Jason Russo of QAHC for bringing this case to my attention.

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