Family law judges in Minnesota and around the rest of the country can often decide the fate of parents and families. They determine child custody rights during disputes and set amounts for monthly child and spousal support.
Can a judge dictate whether a man or woman can have kids or not?
By the indication of a recent ruling in a neighboring state – yes, to an extent.
A father of nine children fell woefully behind on his child support payments. He was in the hole a whopping $100,000 with back child support and interest tacked on. Upon appearing in court to answer for his lack of payment, a judge said he wished that he could have the man sterilized in order to stop him from having addition children that he cannot pay for.
The judge, however, did make it a part of the man’s probation that he was not allowed to have any more children until he showed proof that he could support them financially. While this might seem like the judge infringed on the man’s basic freedoms, the judge pointed to a previous state Supreme Court ruling where a fellow judge also made this a condition of probation.
The man will remain on probation for three years.
The man’s attorney had an issue with the condition, saying that it was not recommended in his client’s pre-sentencing investigation. However, the man himself said that he intended on following the condition and will refrain from having any more children.
Some circles of pundits might cheer on this recent move by the judge. While the judgment seems hasty, not financially supporting children is a lose-lose situation. First, and foremost, children are robbed of the resources they need for their everyday lives. This leads their parent or guardian to rely on government money, which is a drain on taxpayer money and usually is still not enough for a decent quality of life.
Source: Associated Press, “Wis. Man $100k behind on child support ordered not to have kids,” Dec. 5, 2012