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New Jersey court ruling could keep father out of delivery room

For most parents, childbirth is a wonderful experience that they chose to go through together. The baby's father is sometimes an active participant in the process. He likely supports the mother as she goes through labor and deliver. A recent ruling by a New Jersey judge might keep some fathers out of the delivery room.

The case at hand involves an estranged couple who isn't married. The mother doesn't want the child's father with her in the delivery room. The father wants to be there to see his child come into the world. The father filed a petition in November asking for an injunction that would ensure he was notified when the woman went into labor. He also asked to be present when the baby was born. The petition also requested that he be given parenting time, be allowed to sign the birth certificate and have his last name on the baby's certificate.

The judge presiding over the case remarked that the man showed deep and proper concern for the fetus, but that the mother is the one carrying it. In his ruling, he said that the mother's right to privacy trumps the father's interest in the child's birth. He ruled that granting the other requests wasn't appropriate for a variety of reasons.

The baby was born on Nov. 19, 2013, which is the same day the ruling was rendered. The father participated in the birth over the phone and was allowed to see the baby as a visitor at the hospital.

Child custody issues are often complex. In this case, the man will likely have to visit the court again to secure his rights as the child's father. Seeking the advice of an experienced New Jersey family law professional might help him to determine how to act in the best interest of the child.

Source: Syracuse.com, "Mothers can block dads from delivery rooms, New Jersey judge rules" John Mariani, Mar. 13, 2014

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