Family law is unlike many other areas of law in one significant aspect. In criminal justice or civil law, for example, judges and juries are bound by legislation that lays out sentencing guidelines and damage caps, and are often unable to devise more unique, individualized sentences and orders. In family law, however, every case is so different that there is no way to create standardized solutions, leaving Ohio family court judges (and often the parties involved) the freedom to devise creative solutions that are best for the family and the situation at hand.
Does this judicial freedom lead to better results for families and children? In some situations, yes; in others, no. Take, for example, a recent case in which a family court judge ordered a defendant not to have any more children until he could pay all of his child support arrears and prove that he could financially support additional children. Was the judge overstepping by making such an order?
The order was made in the case of a 44-year-old man who currently owes nearly $100,000 in child support arrears for his nine children, who he had with six different mothers. Specifically, the father owes $50,000 in back child support with an additional $40,000 in interest.
The judge sentenced the man to three years of probation and then, relying on an earlier court decision from the state in which this case was heard, added a unique clause: the man may not procreate until he can show that he can support not only a new child, but his nine existing children.
What do you think of the judge's decision?
Source: The Journal Times, "Deadbeat dad sent to probation, ordered not to procreate," Kristen Zambo, Dec. 3, 2012