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NEWS: Judge Denies Pregnant Woman Divorce

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posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 06:01 AM
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A woman who discovered she was pregnant after her husband was jailed for beating her, has been denied a divorce by a Washington state judge. Both Shawnna Hughes and her incarcerated husband has agreed to the divorce, but Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine has denied it. The reason given was that Shawnna Hughes had not told her husband of the pregnancy and that the paternity of the child had yet to have been established. Her husband is also awaiting trial on federal drug charges.
 



www.foxnews.com
SPOKANE, Wash. — When Shawnna Hughes discovered she was pregnant, her husband was in jail for beating her. She sought a divorce before his release, and he did not object — but a judge did.

Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine revoked Hughes' divorce until after she gives birth because her husband was not told she was going to have a child and paternity had not been established.

"It is the policy of the state that you cannot dissolve a marriage when one of the parties is pregnant," he said during oral arguments on the case last month.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


It gets a bit more complicated as the judge in the case has just retired as well. There is no reason not to grant the divorce. I’m not sure what the judge was thinking. Even if the child is his, he would still be on the line for child support, incarcerated or not. She wants to formally end this abuse relationship and is not being allowed to do so.




posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 06:04 AM
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That is just weird. Being beaten by her husband is a very good reason to grant divorce. Sometimes I just wonder about some peoples intelligence and awareness.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 09:09 AM
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Originally posted by Kriz_4
Sometimes I just wonder about some peoples intelligence and awareness.



The reason given was that Shawnna Hughes had not told her husband of the pregnancy and that the paternity of the child had yet to have been established


Seems reasonable enough.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 09:17 AM
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Get rid of this judge. She deserves a divorce. This is what you get when judges are appointed or elected instead of hired on their merits.
Way to go judge



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 10:20 AM
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Who the h*ll does that judge think he is? She should be granted the divorce and full custody of the baby, regardless of his/her paternity. Sounds like the child would be better off without a father like that....

Disgusting...in this day and age, wife beating is not grounds enough to be granted an instant divorce. Back to the dark ages I guess.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 10:22 AM
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Yes, I agree with all of you the judge must go. However according to the articvle, he has retired. Good riddance as far as I am concerned.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 10:25 AM
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Hope he ends up in one of the nursing centers you hear about on the news.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 10:27 AM
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My, my, a "policy of the state" that is enough to tell you that it has nothing to do with the "laws in the state".

This policy probably goes back to the colonial days.


Here in the county I live, they city still has "policies" that discriminate interracial marriage, but not body does anything about it because they had not been used in many years.

Probably until we get a judge like the one above and he decides to bring them back in used.


We also have the one that native americans can not buy land in our state.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 10:27 AM
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The judge absolutely made the correct decision. You cannot grant a divorce to someone when they are purposely keeping them in the dark about a pregnancy, the issue of paternity changes everything about the divorce case. The Judge isn't saying 'well, young girly, you needs you a husband, no divorce for you!" The judge is not unreasonably deciding that the girl can't get a divorce, christ, the guy beats her and is in jail and he agreed to a divorce! However she hasn't told him that she has his child. A large part of the divorce settlement will be based on and influenced by this paternity issue, such as alimony, division of their holdings, and his rights as an (abuse, criminal, scum-sucking) father.

For the judge to grant divorce under those circumstances would be outrageous.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 10:30 AM
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I disagree, the issue of settlement and the like can be dealth with esp the child support issue after. In any case he is unlikely to have anything as he is awaiting trial on Federal drug charges.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 02:33 AM
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This has been the subject of much discussion among family law attorneys in Washington. It is hasty to criticize the judge based on the news story. You need to read the Judge's decision in order to understand the basis of his ruling. First, he did not deny the wife a divorce. He denied her a decree of dissolution RIGHT NOW. I have not personally read the decision yet. It appears that the wife was not only demanding a dissolution but also disestablishment of paternity in the husband before the child was born.

The following is based on a thorough analysis made by a very capable and widely respected family law attorney: Under Washington paternity statutes, disestablishment of paternity cannot be completed until after the child is born. The wife should, and perhaps may, have been granted a divorce had she not also insisted upon disestablishing paternity in the incarcerated husband before the child's birth. One of the primary reasons the paternity statutes bar entry of final orders until after the child's birth is that the fetus may miscarry and, therefore, the paternity issue may never arise.

The wife can disestablish paternity through a separate paternity action rather than in the divorce action. A paternity action can be filed right now and completed after the child is born. In the meantime, the wife can be granted a divorce right now but cannot disestablish paternity in the divorce decree.

This procedure protects the unborn child's interests after birth in an accurate determination of paternity, the state's interest in identifying the responsible parent for child support purposes, the mother's and husband's interests in controlling their marital status, and the mother's interests in controlling her body.

Under Washington law, the incarcerated abusive father is presumed to be the child's father because the mother became pregnant during the marriage. The husband has an interest in being informed that his wife is pregnant, even if he is not the biological father because, if the wife is pregnant at dissolution, gives birth to the child and the husband doesn't hear about it for two years, under the law he will be irrevocably deemed the father.

Again, I have not yet read the judge's decision but expect to have it soon. I'll post it if anyone is interested. The foregoing comments are based on discussion among family law attorneys. It may or may not reflect the ultimate resolution of the case. Again, the foregoing is based on considerable analysis done by others regarding the factual and legal issues presented by the case.

[edit on 1/11/2005 by dubiousone]



posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 02:39 AM
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I agree with Nygdan[/u]

Besides all the PC rhetoric being thrown around why 'sentence' the child to being a bastard?
Sneaking in to get a divorce without telling the prospective father may be one of the types of acts 'mom' perpetrated that brought on the spousal abuse to begin with.

The judge was right.

dubiousone
YES post the ruling or a link when it's available



posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 08:55 PM
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Following is the full text of the transcript of the Judge's oral ruling. The names of the lawyers and the court reporter have been removed. The Judge gave careful consideration to the matter and, I think, made a fair and basically correct decision

COPY
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF SPOKANE I

n Re: The Marriage Of:

Cause No. 04-3-00840-7

SHAWNNA J. HUGHES,

Petitioner,
and
CARLOS A. HUGHES,
Respondent.

VERBATIM REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS
(Court's Oral Decision)

BE IT REMEMBERED that on the 4th day of November, 2004, the above-entitled cause came on for hearing before the Honorable PAUL A. BASTINE, Judge, Department No. 8, Spokane County Superior Court.

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AFTERNOON SESSION
(November 4, 2004; 4:00 p.m.)

THE COURT: Well, let me speak to the question that I raised first, and I think Mr. Beggs addressed.

Over on the wall above Mr. Kim's head is a plaque that deals with professionalism.

And having practiced law for 40 years in this community, there are certain unwritten rules that are expected, and that is, one of the more important ones I guess from my perspective is that if you know that there is a question as to the propriety of your proceeding, and specifically if you know that someone on the other side or someone who is directly involved involved in this case disagrees with your position, it is imperative that you give them notice and allow them to be heard, give them the courtesy and give the court the courtesy and the benefit of this problem.

I don't believe Ms. Sloyer, who I have had some dealings with, intentionally tried to go around

Ms. Valentine. But everybody was on notice that there was a problem here.

And I suspect it is one of those matters that just proceeded. Certainly there were some places at which it should have been caught before it reached the point it is

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at today: Should have been caught at the prosecutor's office, it should have been caught, at your office, it should have been caught across the hall.

And had we not had 'a pro tem commissioner sitting there, it would have been caught there. Because not only is it the policy of this Court, it is the policy of the state that you cannot dissolve a marriage when one of the parties is pregnant.

Now, you won't find a statute with regard to that. But it is implicit in everything we have in the case law and the statutory law.
And in fact, RCN 26.26.550 almost directly addresses that issue when it says you can start an action to disestablish paternity but you can't finalize it until after the child is born.

In effect what you did was attempted to disestablish paternity in contravention of 26.26.550. Because if you look at the other statutes involved, starting with 26.26.101, which establishes the father/child relationship, on to 26.26.116, which puts in play the presumptions, and you go on to 26.26.630(3), by, proceeding in the manner in which you did, there was an adjudication.
Now, as far as the constitutional argument that
Ms. Hughes is being deprived of her right to dissolve her

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marriage, she's not deprived of. that, absolutely not.

There are two alternatives here: Her marriage could be dissolved with full disclosure to Mr. Hughes that she is pregnant, and he may legally be the father under the law, which was not done.

We don't need to go any further because that voids the decree in and of itself, in my view. I think it is very clear, he was not put on notice as to what his legal status is here, was not served with the documentation.

It may have been true and correct at the time that the petition was filed, but it wasn't true at the time the final documents were. entered.

And there is a basic principle: You cannot in a default ask for more or ask for something different than what you asked for in the papers originally served.

It is that simple.

Secondly, her other alternative is to wait until after the child is born.

So she is not denied the right to dissolve her relationship. There is. a restriction on the time.

The state imposes restrictions on dissolving dissolutions without prejudicing the person's constitutional rights. We have a 90-day waiting period. We have a requirement that the party be served. We have a requirement that the papers be filed for a specific

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period of time.

This is simply saying, we are putting the child's paramount rights ahead of you getting a dissolution within the 90 days or immediately after the 90-day period.

If you are going to go out and commit an intentiona act, that changes the circumstances, which is what occurred here,then you have created the situation by you own actions that delay your opportunity to disolve your marriage.

Now, as for the argument that she's terminating her relationship with Mr. Hughes by proceeding with the dissolution, it couldn't be further from the truth, because in fact now, even assuming that your arguments are all legitimate, she is forced into a situation, again, by her own action, of commencing a lawsuit, a civil lawsuit, to disestablish paternity.

She has got to involve him as a party again or get him to sign a paternity affidavit declaring that he is not the father.
Her relationship with him is not dissolved by dissolving the marriage. It's only complicated.

And the state's role is complicated. And the court's role is complicated by having proceeded in this fashion.

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So while it may seem like an inconsequential kind of thing, it is not inconsequential in terms of the legal effects it has on all, the parties involved, and more particularly, the child.

There are any number of cases, State v. Santos is probably the predominant case, that says a child has a vested right and a right to be represented and an interest in matters like this.

And while some of that has been irradicated,or set aside I guess for lack of a better term -- which is a better term, probably -- by the paternity affidavit and some of the other procedures, the fact of the matter is that if you go in and try to disestablish paternity without notice to the father, the child has the right to contest that up until age 18, and maybe the statute of limitations doesn't run for a period of time after that.

So, again, what you have created here by the manner in which you proceeded is an incredible morass of legal issues that are easily taken care of, simply resolved, by not allowing the dissolution to proceed until after the child has been born and then an adjudication can proceed properly.

But the fact of the matter, again, is that if we allow this decree to stand, two things have occurred, and I think it is quite clear: Under RCW 26.26.630;(3) there

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has been an adjudication of the paternity.

What that adjudication is, I have no idea because the documents say he's not the father, but the documents don't make any other determination. So it becomes a legal nightmare.

But even more than that, the initial issue is, Mr. Hughes wasn't given notice. You entered a decree that was contrary to the documents that were served on him. He has a right to be here. He had a right to be here at the time the decree was entered..

If you were going to try to take a default at that time, you needed to serve him and give him notice that his rights as a father or as a nonfather were being determined in that matter. It wasn't done.

The decree will be vacated.

And I don't know where you want to go in terms of determining or disestablishing paternity, but that is an issue now that I think almost certainly has to follow in some fashion.

As far as disadvantaging Mrs. Hughes by her marrying the biological father, that I suppose, again, is an issue that you are going to have to work through the legal aspects of that because that simply doesn't establish paternity either under the circumstances.

I don't know whether you want to prepare an order

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that vacates the decree and vacates the documents that were entered on the 26th of October, or whether you want me to.

MR. BEGGS: We'll be happy to, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Okay.

MR. BEGGS: We'll bring them over to you.

MS. VALENTINE: Thank you, Your Honor.

THE COURT: The Court will be in recess.

THE CLERK: Please rise.
(Matter adjourned.)

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[edit on 1/13/2005 by dubiousone]



posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 08:58 PM
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More and more everyday, Where is this Freedom and liberty you Americans speak so highly of? my god, you'll be arrested for just having a bad hair day in America soon! Dont folk protest against loss of your rights? Divorce is a fact of life, how dare the law interfere!



posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 09:29 PM
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Originally posted by instar
More and more everyday, Where is this Freedom and liberty you Americans speak so highly of? my god, you'll be arrested for just having a bad hair day in America soon! Dont folk protest against loss of your rights? Divorce is a fact of life, how dare the law interfere!


Nice to see people still post in threads before bothering to read them.

Judges have to enact the law as it stands. The law stated that they had to wait until after birth in this type of case before a divorce amy be granted. All the jduge did was enforce the law on the books, which is his job.

Also, can we please have a rule against posting misleading thread titles? I mean, this isn't FOX News, people.

[edit on 1-13-2005 by Esoterica]



posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 09:35 PM
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I did read it. Who makes the laws? Who pays them? Such a law is against human rights in my opinion. The law should not interfere in human relationships. period.
You have a say via votes against unfair or unconstitutional laws.
dont you ? or do you merely accept anything unless it affects you directly and personally?



posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:22 PM
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Originally posted by instar
I did read it. Who makes the laws? Who pays them? Such a law is against human rights in my opinion. The law should not interfere in human relationships. period.
You have a say via votes against unfair or unconstitutional laws.
dont you ? or do you merely accept anything unless it affects you directly and personally?


You know, I could write a retort to this, but I just noticed that you said-

"Divorce is a fact of life, how dare the law interfere!"

When in fact marriage and divorce are both legal in nature by definition, and by choice, because people like the benefits and safety provided by the law. So when you start to make sense, I'll get back to you.



posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:50 PM
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This case has more to do with economics than it does with morals--and it is a clear violation of Shawnna Hughes' rights. However, because all of the parties in this case are welfare recipients, convicts, gang-members, and potential wards of the state, I guess that it's okay to throw the Constitution out the window.

And yes, the law regarding disestablishing paternity is on the books, however the divorce should have been granted irrespective of the paternity issue. The law was misinterpreted as there is no provision in the state law that allows a divorce to be denied--or delayed--if the woman is pregnant. This will come to light in the appeal.

Under Washington State Law, the ex-husband is considered to be the father of a child born to his ex-wife up to 300 days after a divorce is granted for purposes of determining child support. If the divorce is granted and because Hughes is on welfare, there will be no father for the state to pursue for child support payments. That is the primary reason why Hughes was not granted the divorce. If she wasn't a welfare recipient whose current boyfriend (and father of her unborn child) was not a gang member currently serving time, in all likelihood, she would be a single woman now.

How this woman lives her life is not for us to decide--that's America, folks... or at least it is supposed to be. However forcing her to remain married to an abusive husband AND essentially assigning custody of her unborn child to a violent criminal is just plain bizzare. Good, upstanding citizens have to go through extensive background checks to adopt, yet this judge just essentially authorized the custody of a newborn to a known convict.

But as I mentioned earlier, this case has little to do with morals--or even upholding the law because you have two laws at odds here and the judge chose a remedy that makes no sense and violates the spirit of the law--to protect children from deadbeat fathers.

The judge decided that because the divorce papers didn't disclose the pregnancy, in the eyes of the state the baby didn't have a legally responsible father--since when does a baby require a legally responsible father? It's a nice to have, sure, but is this judge going to force all single welfare moms to marry? The logic is assinine--unless you sign the state's welfare checks.

Also, the message that this ruling sends is that if an abusive husband wants to keep his wife, just knock her up... at least in Spokane. Thank goodness this judge is retiring.

edition.cnn.com...
www.handelonthelaw.com.../1/2005



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 02:02 AM
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For those of you who care to know, Washington law provides that:

The father-child relationship is established between a child and a man by an unrebutted presumption of the man's paternity.

Mr. Hughes is presumed to be the father (1) if the child is born during the marriage, or (2) if the child is born within three hundred days after his marriage to the mother is terminated.

So, in either case, Mr. Hughes is a presumed father.

If Mr. and Mrs. Hughes cohabited or had sexual intercourse during the probable time of conception, he must challenge the paternity presumption within two years after the child’s birth. If he does not, then he is irrevocably established as the child’s legal father (regardless of whether or not he is the bio dad).

Mrs. Hughes wants to dissolve the marriage with no notice to Mr. Hughes that she is pregnant. Without notice, Mr. Hughes would not know that the two year clock toward irrevocably becoming the legal father of another man’s child is ticking.

The presumption of paternity may be rebutted only by an adjudication (a lawsuit) according to Washington law.

After learning more about this case and reading Judge Bastine's oral decision, I have concluded that all the publicity is groundless sensationalism.

The Judge said that because wife became pregnant while married, the husband must have notice of the pregnancy before a decree dissolving the marriage can be entered. Why does this wife resist doing that simple task?

The Judge said:

"Now, as far as the constitutional argument that Ms. Hughes is being deprived of her right to dissolve her marriage, she's not deprived of that, absolutely not.

"There are two alternatives here:

"Her marriage could be dissolved with full disclosure to Mr. Hughes that she is pregnant, and he may legally be the father under the law, which was not done.

"* * * *

"Secondly, her other alternative is to wait until after the child is born."

The news article says: "This is a woman in domestic violence asking to get out of the relationship," said Hughes' attorney, Terri Sloyer. "We're telling abusers that if you can get her pregnant you can keep her married to you." That is NONSENSE. The Judge said, JUST give your husband notice (in the requisite legal way) that you are pregnant and you can have your divorce.

The news article says, "No provision in state law authorizes a judge to decline to issue a divorce because the woman is pregnant," said the American Civil Liberties Union's Doug Honig. "Women should be able to choose for themselves when they want to end a marriage. That's especially important for women in abusive relationships." TRUE. AND THIS JUDGE HAS NOT DECLINED TO ISSUE A DIVORCE BECAUSE OF THE PREGNANCY. It was declined because the husband was not given notice that she is pregnant. Rant and rave all you want. But first, at least get the facts straight.

Again, Mrs. Hughes is not being denied a divorce because she is pregnant. She was denied the divorce because she had not given her husband notice that she is pregnant.

The Judge wisely observed that dissolving the marriage in the manner the wife insists upon does not end her relationship with the husband:

“Now, as for the argument that she's terminating her relationship with Mr. Hughes by proceeding with the dissolution, it couldn't be further from the truth, because in fact now, even assuming that your arguments are all legitimate, she is forced into a situation, again, by her own action, of commencing a lawsuit, a civil lawsuit, to disestablish paternity.

“She has got to involve him as a party again or get him to sign a paternity affidavit declaring that he is not the father.

“Her relationship with him is not dissolved by dissolving the marriage. It's only complicated.

“And the state's role is complicated. And the court's role is complicated by having proceeded in this fashion.”

I say to Mrs. Hughes, her lawyer, and the ACLU, she should properly amend her pleadings, give the husband notice of the pregnancy, and get on with it. You’ve wrung plenty of publicity out of this situation. If mom really wants to get on with her life, the Judge gave her the roadmap. All she has to do is follow it. Maybe the limelight is too much fun to give up just yet.


[edit on 1/14/2005 by dubiousone]



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 05:05 AM
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talk about rights-
the 'child' has rights as well as the father.
The judge acted correctly, it doesn't matter who is or is not on welfare.



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