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Friday, February 25, 2005

Most wryly funny line I've read in a court opinion lately

Stories like this one (hat-tip to K-Lo on The Corner) make me glad I don't regularly practice family law (boldface mine):

A man who says his former lover deceived him by getting pregnant using semen obtained through oral sex can sue for emotional distress — but not theft, an appeals court has ruled.

Dr. Richard O. Phillips accuses Dr. Sharon Irons of a "calculated, profound personal betrayal" six years ago, but she says they had the baby through sexual intercourse.

The Illinois Appeals Court said Wednesday that Phillips can press a claim for emotional distress after alleging Irons had used his sperm to have a baby, but agreed that however the baby was conceived, Irons didn't steal the sperm.

"She asserts that when plaintiff 'delivered' his sperm, it was a gift," the decision said. "There was no agreement that the original deposit would be returned upon request."

(Originally I titled this post "Most dryly funny line ...," but I decided that may be inapt.)

This whole story is fascinating, in a repugnant sort of way. These are two physicians, fer pete's sake. Now, as a general rule I tend to like docs, notwithstanding that my ex is one. I've defended a few; I haven't (yet) had occasion to sue one; and I'm always, ummm, dryly amused that despite their carping about lawyers, doctors (in my own observation and experience) are more likely than any other professionals to dash to their own lawyers at the drop of a hankie (or perhaps in this case, a spit into a plastic baggie). I was terribly disappointed at the recent research showing that leeches actually do have some medicinal uses, because it robbed me of my favorite comeback line to grousing physicians: "While my professional predecessors were writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, yours were killing George Washington by bleeding him to death with leeches."

The relationship ended, the suit said, when Phillips learned Irons had lied to him about being recently divorced and was still married to another doctor.

Irons, who practices internal medicine in suburban Olympia Fields, said in a telephone interview Thursday that Phillips knew she was still married during their affair, and also knew she was pregnant with his child.

"He was very supportive and very happy about it," she said. "He said, `You need to hurry up and get your divorce.'"

He promised to marry her and asked her to quit her job, she said, but several days before her last day at work, Phillips informed her that he "couldn't go through with it."

Nearly two years after their affair, Irons filed a paternity suit and Phillips was ordered to pay $800 a month in child support, said Irons' attorney, Enrico Mirabelli.

Curious indeed, this is. Back in the dark ages when I went to law school, long before DNA testing was common, the classic example of the "irrebuttable presumption" — actually an iron-clad rule — was that for policy reasons (basically to encourage societal interests in legitimacy), a child conceived during wedlock was conclusively presumed to be the offspring of the husband. Courts would refuse to accept any allegation or evidence to the contrary — even if, for example, the husband had been sailing the Indian Ocean with the U.S. Fleet for 13 months before the child was born. I can't find the opinion online yet, but apparently that old law wasn't applied here.

I'm also curious about the main ruling of the case, permitting Dr. Phillips to sue for his emotional distress (but apparently not disturbing the paternity and child support findings). What if instead of a spit-and-switch ploy, her alleged deceit was to have told him, falsely, that she was on the pill, or that she'd had her tubes tied? Would he still have a claim? Or what if it was — gasp — merely a contraceptive failure during conventional intercourse? Would he still have a claim then? Would it matter who'd chosen the type of contraception they were using? Or who decided not to use a back-up means?

Obviously I need a consult from a genuine family law specialist to satisfy my curiosity. Volunteers? Or (reasonably nonprofane) comments from interested nonlawyers? If so, think of it as "a gift" to me.

Posted by Beldar at 07:05 PM in Humor, Law (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Most wryly funny line I've read in a court opinion lately and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» A Tale of Two Doctors from Cranial Cavity

Tracked on Feb 25, 2005 10:43:10 PM


(1) Boger made the following comment | Feb 25, 2005 8:37:38 PM | Permalink

This is a "No s........r." I am sipping a bevearge (ok, it was a cocktail) when I decide to visit BeldarBlog. Hey, look, his grace is sharing some new wisdom. I start to read, not really comprehending. Then I convulse; hand asap to mouth to prevent involuntary expectoration; only partially successful; use sleeve to clean up.

Will somebody please pull the hand lever, slow down the blue marble enough so I can disembark.

(2) Lesley made the following comment | Feb 25, 2005 9:26:25 PM | Permalink

I don't suppose Dr. Richard O. Phillips would have found it particularly amusing, but his attorneys should have duct taped him to a chair and screamed, "WHAT? ARE YOU NUTS? YOU MIGHT PREVAIL BUT YOU WILL BE VIEWED AS A LAUGHINGSTOCK AS WELL AS A FIRST CLASS JERK IN THE EYES OF THE WORLD!!! THINK MAN, THINK!!!!!"

I realize lawyers get caught up in the perceived legal merits of a case and are hired to win, however, this is a case where there are no winners, least of all the poor child, who someday will be thrilled to hit Google and research all the particulars of his/her "romantic" conception and its aftermath. Sordid, ghastly, petty, and whacked are words which readily jump to my mind.

Bottom line: I believe any good attorney's first obligation is to serve his client's long-term best interests which, to my way of thinking, was sorely lacking here. But I suppose the cynics out there would stipulate that even jackasses are richly entitled to all the legal representation their checking accounts can endure.

(3) Beldar made the following comment | Feb 25, 2005 9:38:07 PM | Permalink

I'd wager a week's pay that both sides' lawyers are working this case on an hourly rate basis, yup.

(4) Sue Bob made the following comment | Feb 25, 2005 10:25:29 PM | Permalink

Why are men so silly about things like this? Do you guys really believe that most women will EVER believe that sex is some kind of sport devoid of emotional content? Do you believe that women really expect nothing long term when you engage in this sort of liason? If so, you are naive dummies.

This wasn't some kind of business deal where one should be able to assert detrimental reliance--and I don't think the law should ever accept that view. If the law did, the welfare (and perhaps lives) of babies would end up being sacrificed on the altar of immediate and momentary gratification.

Don't you guys understand that women are faking it when they purport to believe in the Sexual Revolution?

(5) Sue Bob made the following comment | Feb 25, 2005 10:37:20 PM | Permalink

I was going to say something about turkey basters in my last comment but I refrained. The main point of my comment is the following: Men, don't release your "swimmies" unless you can determine with reasonable probability where they will end up going. As Reagan said: Trust but verify.

(6) James B. Shearer made the following comment | Feb 25, 2005 11:29:04 PM | Permalink

I believe in some cases the woman has been able to collect child support from both the husband and true father which seems a bit unfair to me.

As for the wisdom of not suing, perhaps so but if something like this had happened to me I would probably be too mad to think straight.

(7) Boger made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 1:37:14 AM | Permalink

I am tortured by realization that instead of disembark I could have said get off. Damn.

(8) Kerry made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 8:09:48 AM | Permalink

It is for concepts like this,"...the classic example of the 'irrebuttable presumption' — actually an iron-clad rule... conclusively presumed..." I enjoy reading your and other lawyer's blogs. You guys know how to think, reason and reach valid conclusions. My wife looks at me with understanding and mild amusement as I shout "non sequitar!" or "gratuitous assumption" at the moniter. Never happens here. Nice shootin' pardner.

(9) profwalker made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 10:17:45 AM | Permalink

What is going on (coming on?) here? Is Irons adopting a Clintonian 'I did not have sex with that woman' defense (against 'voluntary' paternity charges)? I know: SHE says they had intercourse; but HE says they did not -- that she (only) fellated him. So: is fellatio 'sex'? I think it was determined to be in the Oval Office. And is (?later) insertion of semen by the woman an act for which the man is (legally) responsible?

(10) Scott made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 10:45:43 AM | Permalink

I found this case fascinating because of the language used in the court's decision, printed in the local newspaper. The plaintif sued for theft, but the court ruled that upon ejaculation the plaintif tendered to the defendant "free and clear title to ownership of property, from donor to donee." That's an interesting way of putting it. Men understand the salient point, but apparently boys do not. Every time a man engages in sex with a woman, he tenders free and clear title to ownership of property, from donor to donee, and that property, however small it may be (unicellular, in fact), is worth 25% of his income for 18 years. Since she has free and clear title to the property, she can do with it whatever she wishes. She can flush it down the toilet, or she can spit it in a cup and use a turkey baster to impregnate herself. Should she choose to do the latter, he is fully, legally responsible for providing child support, and there's not a damn thing he can do about it. He knew what he was doing when he engaged in the sex act--he was donating to her free and clear title to 1/4 of his income for 18 years, potentially at least. He is going to be held fully responsible for his actions, whether he likes it or not. The lesson here being, cast not thy pearls before swine, boys. As to Beldar's question of the legitimacy of children under the marriage contract, the precedent descends from English common law, and is hundreds of years old. It has long been the staple of the marriage contract that the husband is responsible for supporting every child his wife conceives, regardless of who the father is. If she's your wife, they're your children. You will pay child support. Period. The court does not allow evidence of any kind to question paternity in a marriage situation. There was a case originating in Dallas a few years ago in which a man discovered that three of the four children he was paying his ex-wife child support for weren't his. This girl had conceived four children with four different men, but only one is required to pay child-support--her husband. He took his case all the way to the US Supreme Court, and it was rejected at each level for precisely that reason. In fact, it is unacknowleged or unknown that 1/3 of the paternity tests performed in this country prove that the husband is not the father of the child, but that has no bearing on child-support payments. Once you put that ring on her finger, you agree to pay child support for every child she conceives for as long as she is your wife. That's it, boys. The question isn't whether you love her. The question is, can you trust her?

(11) LazyMF made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 11:38:32 AM | Permalink

Beldar, the presumption that a child born during marriage is the child of the husband still exists under Texas law, but it is a rebuttable presumption. Easily rebutted with DNA evidence.

The original paternity holding probably will not be reversed for one simple reason: the courts must primarily consider the best interests of the child. Was it wrong for the woman to engage in the deceit? Sure. Is it unfair to the guy who had no reasonable expectation that the fellatio would result in a pregnancy? You betcha. However, the court looks at what is fair for the child. The child had no culpability, and it is in the child's best interests to have a father and receive support from the father.

Texas, and other states, still have a quirky rule of law regarding paternity that you have to be aware of when you read journalistic accounts of cases. Under Texas law, if there is a prior court order stating that a man is the father of the child, that is the holding that will stand - forever. A guy cannot let a divorce or paternity order get signed that says he is the father, then later come back and prove he is not the father. Even if you have DNA testing done later which conclusively proves you are not the father - tough luck. The prior order trumps science and reality. Reporters often don't understand this rule of law.

The deceit here reminded me of a famous Texas case which was handed down a few years ago (involving a successful Houston-area car dealer). Husband and wife were married and had trouble conceiving children. Went to fertility clinic and it worked. Had kids, raised them then they got divorced. The parties (and their attorneys) forgot about the "man butter" that was cryogenically stored. A couple years after the divorce, without the ex-husband's knowledge, the woman retrieved the genetic material and had herself become pregnant again. The result: the ex-husband was a father again and he got to support that child.

(12) Kent made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 12:19:09 PM | Permalink

The old rule that a child was conclusively presumed to be the husband's makes no sense from a scientific perspective. It is eminently sensible from the point of view of society's and the child's interests. It's a shame it was dropped.

It strikes me, as a nonlawyer, that many of the more odd and obscure legal rules fall into this category, and ought not to be discarded lightly.

(13) Scott made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 1:59:55 PM | Permalink

You are correct, of course, Kent. If the law regarding legitimacy in a marriage situation were overturned, there would be literally millions of men suing for back-payment of illigimate child-support. The sheer number of cases would clog the courts for decades. That is not going to be allowed to happen. So there is only this reality: 1) every time a man engages in sex with a woman, he tenders free and clear title to ownership of property worth 25% of his income for 18 years; 2) once a man places that ring on a woman's finger, he is fully legally responsible for every child she conceives for as long as she is his wife. Therefore take notice and govern yourself accordingly.

(14) James B. Shearer made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 4:57:38 PM | Permalink

Upon reflection Phillips' explanation of how he became a father seems a bit unlikely to me. So perhaps his attorneys should be worried about their own reputation. Perhaps Beldar can answer this, what should a lawyer who suspects his client (or potential client) is fibbing do?

(15) Carol Herman made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 6:03:33 PM | Permalink

FACT: A physician paying $800 a month child support is a joke perpetrated by a judge who HATED THE MOTHER OF THE CHILD!

FACT: The father did well in court! Why would he be duck taped to a chair by a lawyer? Here was a man who was shown how judges can favor a man. And, "he shot his load." He went for broke.

FACT: This child deserves representation in court, herself. And, given that a disgusted lower court judge DISMISSED this action; after strapping the mom with the bulk of the costs to raise this kid, I can only wonder what he will do now, when this case comes back into his courtroom? Possibly the father's expenses will rise, as the judge appoints an attorney for this kid! And, that cost will exceed $800 a month for quite some period of time. (WHY SO? Because the father bumped the case TO APPEAL. And, now it's gonna rain bricks on his head.)

Can the father close the case? Sure, but just like the pregnancy came when something entered a woman's mouth, and not her vagina, the mother/doctor is now gonna be able to get a better deal on child support. That would go a long way to a much more appropriate conclusion. Oh, on my next bet, I'm predicted Michael Jackson gets off. The prosecutor has no case.

FACT: GO TO COURT AND GET YOURSELF A LOT OF AGGRAVATION OVER NOTHING. But sometimes justice does manage to get done. Spit it out. Go ahead. Disagree.

(16) Beldar made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 8:40:02 PM | Permalink

Mr. Shearer, the short answer is that while a lawyer has an ethical duty to refrain from knowingly presenting perjured testimony, that's a fairly high threshold. Applied to a bizarre fact setting involving turkey basters and bedrooms, I'm reluctant to wager that Dr. Phillips' counsel have an ethical prohibition against helping him present his factual claims. Whether they, or he, ought to think better of it as a matter of common sense is another question altogether.

To the various commenters who've quite properly pointed out that the child's best interests control on paternity and child support issues, I didn't mean to disagree with that, nor to be insensitive. With the continuing legal education offered by my commenters (this post has NOT yet been certified by the State Bar of Texas for .25 hours of official CLE credit, but at this rate it might be), I suppose that Dr. Irons' husband may have challenged paternity and overcome the apparently-now-not-irrebuttable presumption as part of his divorce from her. That in turn may have triggered Dr. Irons' paternity suit against Dr. Phillips. And that probably prompted his current case for theft and other torts ("intentional infliction of emotional distress" being the most likely vehicle) that the trial court dismissed but that the appellate court wryly reinstated in this week's decision.

I don't want to get into whether $800/month is or isn't an appropriate child support payment because I don't know anything about Dr. Irons' and Dr. Phillips' respective means.

Be it duly resolved, however: Beldar needs to have another chat with his seventeen-year-old son (and in due course with his younger siblings) in their continuing series on male responsibilities and potential liabilities.

(17) Carol Herman made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 9:39:59 PM | Permalink

My dear Beldar, one of the few lawyers that can have the word "ethical" plugged in front of your name. And, of course, I'm divorced in California, so what do I know about Texas law. However, here in this State there are "guidelines" for judges to follow. Yes. In the state that men discovered the beaches, so they could claim they didn't have the wherewithal to pay decent child support ... there is something (I believe it's called the Agnos list, but I'm not great with names.) And, the judge uses this to determine basement prices as well as ceilings. So that nothing impedes his "discretion" in these sorts of cases. You can argue that the $800 shows he has only a negligible relationship with the mother. Fine. And, dandy. But you show me where the BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD have been taken into account by the judge? In estates that go before the courts, minors rights are protected by attorneys selected by the judge ... TO LOOK AFTER THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD. Here? What if a book deal comes out of this? Stranger cases have made for story telling. (And, you tell me, what kid doesn't ask a parent "WHERE DID I COME FROM?" You've got good answers for kids made in petrie dishes?) The technological world has arrived. It's even possible that Dr. Sharon Irons, or her attorney, have been told that you've posted this story on the Internet. Why not think there are issues here still to be resolved.

Dr. Phillips had the "withdrawal" against his account. He can't claim someone else did that part of the work. And, being indifferent to the child doesn't bode well for him, should his case be heard in front of a jury. (Not that I think it gets that far!)

You think $800 a month is NOT a lowball number? How come Dr. Phillips had the money to persue an APPEAL? How many thousands did that cost? And, what does he gain, now that this case, which may become high profile, suddenly is tossed back into the court of the same judge who TOSSED IT OUT! (And, this was once a friendly judge. Given the low ball sum of $800 per month to raise a physician's daughter.)

You know where the law is different than say, sports? In a sporting event when fouls occur YOU HEAR IT FROM THE FANS! The law doesn't have this ability to hear how people really think about the law. Yet it exists, like dollar bills, because ordinary human beings put faith it what can be transacted when its used.

Bad faith judges, and lawyers, coupled to crazy clients, make for very bad long term harm to the reputations of decent attorneys. Separate from "how" this child was conceived is another reality. And, that one is that most folks want the best interests of the child preserved. And, the mother is not a football.

(18) Deb S. made the following comment | Feb 26, 2005 10:09:29 PM | Permalink


There was a story on this that ran in the Chicago Tribune that gave a bit more information. I do believe Dr. Phillips is the fool representing himself in court, ne?

Here in Illinois, there is no automatic presumption of fatherhood by a husband, anymore. Child support laws have killed that. You don't even need to have the DNA tests if both parties agree. I know this from experience.

Child support here is supposed to be 20% (give or take, at the judges' discretion) of the current income, for a single child.

(19) Dan made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 4:49:38 PM | Permalink

It looks like they will post the opinion http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/Uploads.htm in about a week, at the current week.

(20) James B. Shearer made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 7:05:53 PM | Permalink

Beldar, while your explanation of a lawyer's ethical obligations is consistent with my understanding of current beliefs in the legal profession, it seems awfully convenient to this non-lawyer. Dan Rather should have been so lucky, after all he did not (in my opinion) knowingly present fake documents. However since, as Deb S. points out, Phillips is representing himself the question is moot in this case.

Carol Herman, while lawyers are sometimes appointed to represent a child's interests there is no rule (nor should there be) that the child's interests are supreme. Instead as in all cases the rights and obligations of the contending parties are evaluated and a balance is reached. For example a court will not (in general) order grandparents to provide support even if this would be in the child's interest. As for the $800 a month, while parents have an obligation to support their children there is no obligation to be generous. Actually in this case I suspect it would be in the child's best interest for the father to have no parental rights, obligations or even contact with the child. Nevertheless the courts will uphold the mother's right to pursue a child support claim.

(21) Boger made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 10:16:22 AM | Permalink

On a semi-serious note, my non-lawyer view is that this case is another instance where the Constitution is, in real effect, mute. Other examples: right to privacy, right to die, abortion, cloning, gay marriage, etc. It is increasingly irrational to try to tease-out our constitutional rights on such issues from a 200 year old document. The result of doing so is thin, tortuous reasoning and half-assed law, which in turn invites political incivility and instability. Lets have another Constitutional Convention and make the law as clear as possible in these areas that were never in the consciousness of the Framers. Article V of the Constitution provides for the holding of future Constitutional Conventions. Since that is the case, the Framers obviously envisioned a future necessity. The time has come.

(22) Carol_Herman made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 12:58:40 PM | Permalink

Sorry, Boger, but the last thing we need is a Constitutional Convention. I also disagree about disallowing any dad access to the seed that grew from his sperm. Nature has a wonderful way, usually, of bringing souls together that share genetic makeup.

I've always even suspected, in cases of adoption, where children are robbed of the knowledge about their parents, when they look into the mirrors as adults, they see those who left them to the care of others.

TRUTH is one of the things that makes the abstract practice of law, possible. Otherwise, it's no different that a slave market. Where flesh is bought and sold. And, "rights" depends on knowing the road to graft. (Not so unusual in politics, either.)

Anyway, I learned all about divorce by having to go and get one, myself. I even know that there are some excellent lawyers, if time permits them to do their work. And, they're not overwhelmed with just "moving the papers, along."

In California, the assignment of judges to cases is abitrary. So, I've amused myself by standing next to the clerk's desk as lawyers appear to get their paperwork processed. And, assigned. You can recognize the good ones. (Or perhaps those that hate the harrassment they get from idiotic judges.) When they reach the head of the line, they ask before they hand over their paperwork "whose the next judge up for assignment?" Some then say, oops, I forgot my paperwork. And, they step aside. And, they go through a pantomime of searching their luggage. Coughing. Running to the bathroom in a hurry. Whatever it takes so that another lawyer gets the unfortunate choice of a judge. While they try to get at least someone who isn't totally crazy on their own cases.

There will never be questions on a Bar exam that deal with these realities.

But if you're ever in a court house, you don't have to sit in the hallway. You can enter and watch judges as they handle cases other than yours. And, you can watch your eyelids fly to the top of your head! Or at least, you can feel the jolt that there are seated judges making awful decisions, while they don't even follow any law!

You know, I hope that someone has told Dr. Sharon Irons to come here and look. That just increases the power of the Internet. And, as this power increases, we can stop some of the fun and games people have used to abuse our system of justice.

The child in this case is six years old. I know you can't dictate to the scum of the earth and teach them more than just superficial manners. But where's this man's decency? Where's this man's heart?

I'd bet this child has a terrific mom! GENEROUS to a fault. Without a judge taking any interest in this kid's welfare, whatsoever?

Do you know how I deal with judges, as a citizen, now? When I go and vote I refuse to pull the lever if there's no competition. If the judge is running unapposed.

And, when they run for their seats WITH opposition, I'll usually pick anyone else, except the incumbant. The whole system would improve if we just moved lawyers on and off the bench, quickly. And, then made them go out and practice law. Because on the money scale, the bad ones can hardly earn a living. (Unless they gloam onto politicians. And, then they buy their ticket onto the benches.)

Why is it that lawyers can argue any side? While the most people ask of our courts is TO PROTECT OUR SOCIETY. PROTECT OUR KIDS. DON'T MAKE OUTRAGEOUS DECISIONS THAT FALL OUTSIDE OF COMMON SENSE. Don't misuse "discretion."

Anyway, I've already said this about Dr. Phillips. HE'S SHOT HIS WAD! If he got a kid out of it he detests, let him see what happens NOW! The costs of child-raising INCREASES with time. All parents sacrifice for the good of their children! To give you an example, my son plays an instrument, because when he was very young another mother, who had a very shy daughter, shared with me that her pediatrician recommended this for LONG TERM BENEFITS. That a child, schooled in music, who then goes off to the cold world of college, can carry that instrument into the band room where they will meet friends. Turning what could be a horrible experience, into one that opens doors to kids who also had parents who sacrificed, to make music possible.) In raising kids, it's good to take advantage BY SACRIFICING one's own needs to spend money, to that which benefits our children.

I might add that my mom and dad did even more. Under circumstances where dollars were tighter. Maybe, there are people here who respect Dr. Phillips. I don't. How did the judge in the cases Mr. Phillips brought to court, keep giving him a stick so that he could keep on beating this woman (who gave him a blow job), and his own kid? By the way, you think Bill Clinton gets respect? Isn't there something about a man who only views his own pleasure as paramount as being somewhat lacking in good character?

We live and learn. And, most human beings learn early enough that there are adults out there who are pure garbage. Some of them even sit on the court benches in California.

(23) The Sophist made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 3:36:33 PM | Permalink

Scott -

That language is funny indeed. This case is also amusing, except for the consequences.

One thing that popped into my head reading this was just... so odd that I had to share it.

If the court did in fact hold that at the moment of ejaculation, the man "tendered free and clear title to property", and that property is in fact... um... used? invested? in a manner that generates $800/month in payments to the woman...

Are there any tax consequences that arise from this?

Also... assuming all three adults involved (Dr. Philips, Dr. Irons, and Dr. Irons' husband) all die intestate... would this child inherit from all three?


(24) Scott made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 4:56:10 PM | Permalink


That was the language used in the article printed in my local paper. I have not read the original court decision, but the paper quoted the decision as stating "free and clear title to ownership of property, from donor to donee." That means she can do whatever she wants with it. As far as the tax liabilities that result from receiving child support, you would have to check with a tax attorney or accountant for that information. I'm just a Realtor. As to inheritance, I only know the law in the state of Texas, recently amended a few years ago. When a man dies intestate, the state divides his property and assets as follows: 1/2 to his wife, the other 1/2 divided up equally among all his children, legitimate and illegitimate, from the current marriage and any previous marriages. So in Texas, if Dr. Phillips died intestate, the child would be entitled to an equal portion of 1/2 his estate. I don't know the law in Illinois. I do not believe that Dr. Iron's husband has any legal liability, for child support or inheritance, since the court has ruled that Dr. Phillips is liable.

(25) Jessy made the following comment | Mar 2, 2005 8:39:30 AM | Permalink


I find your support of Mrs. Irons repugnant. This is a woman who maliciously, and in a calculated way, abused the trust of Dr. Phillips. Any reasonable person would agree that blow jobs do not make babies. Going by a 'reasonable person' standard Mrs. Irons is indeed a fraudulent human being, who commited a deceptive act.

Should she be rewarded for it? Absolutely not. Is it possible Mr. Phillips suffers agnoziningly over this malicious act she commited, and will for the rest of his life? Yes, it is surely possible. Does Mrs. Irons bear no culpability for the deterimental effect of her actions? I believe she should.

The most upsetting thing, in this whole incident, is the fact that Mrs. Irons HID the pregnancy from him for two years. That's two years of the childs life that Mr. Phillips can never experience, and in the case of custody, it lessens his chance to play any meaningful chance in the life of this child.

If he is telling the truth, Mrs. Irons is a disgusting human being, who likely shouldn't even be entrusted to raise a child. The whole notion of the 'sperm lottery' is one that should be reconsidered by the law, as it gives rise to illegitimacy and fatherlessness, none of which are good for society.

(26) James B. Shearer made the following comment | Mar 2, 2005 4:39:27 PM | Permalink

Jessy, you are assuming Phillips is telling the truth. However Irons denies it and in my opinion Phillips' story is unlikely. So I would give Irons the benefit of the doubt at this point.

(27) Carol Herman made the following comment | Mar 2, 2005 9:28:19 PM | Permalink

Yes, Jessy, you're onto something. Blow jobs are not a very effective way to get pregnant. (There's even an infertility story I know, that I heard when I worked at a medical school, that a woman complained she wasn't getting pregnant, AND DOCTORS WERE TAUGHT TO ASK ABOUT HOW THEY WERE HAVING SEX.) For years, this woman's husband withdrew and ejaculated onto her belly button. She thought that's how a woman got pregnant.

Since Dr. Irons admits to having sex with Dr. Phillips 4 times, and in his bedroom, we can presume both got undressed. And, how can you believe regular intercourse didn't take place?

What's repugnant about having children? Aren't we living with many Americans wanting to roll back abortions? Dr. Irons decided to go through with her pregnancy. She should be complimented.

As to Dr. Phillips, if he doesn't withdraw his case at this time, and he continues to go ahead without an attorney, he's going to expand his costs, related to this child, in many more ways than just $800 per month.

And, how does he NOT care for the kid? Where's his decency? Where's his heart?

Dr. Richard Feynman once acknowledged that while sex made for babies, it wasn't, as a general rule, why men sought out females for sex. Why should the power of a man's pleasure override a child's best interests? To live. To be supported. And, to acknowledge that in America that support can be extracted by legal fiat, in cases where men would prefer to let their own children starve.

Whose repugnant now?

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