Family Law Science Fiction Meets Rooker-Feldman

In Dodson v. Univ. of Arkansas (CA8) (here), a married couple created several cryogenically-frozen embryos.  Under the agreement with the laboratory, both the husband and wife were required to consent to the implantation of the embryo into the wife.

After the couple were divorce, the wife wanted to the embryo implanted into her.

Full stop.

How terrifying must that have been for the ex-husband?  In the wife had implanted the embryo into herself, the ex-husband would have been liable for at least 18 years of child support.

In family law, the interests of the man are simply irrelevant.  Despite the constitutional prohibition of involuntary servitude, a woman can create a child contrary to the man's choice - and the man will be forced to surrender 25% of his wages for two decades.

A man can also be tricked into the creation of a child, such as when a woman lies about her using birth control.  "Forget" to take the pill?  Poke a hole in a condom?  No problem.

That a woman is able to conceive based on trick, deceit, or breach of contract doesn't matter.  In family law, men mere supplicants: Even cuckolds are required to pay child support.  So much for the pro-choice movement and gender equality!

Fortunately for the ex-husband, the lab would not violate the terms of the agreement.  They would only implant the embryo into the woman with the man's consent.  The man naturally did not want to write child support checks to his ex-wife for a child that he'd never even met.

Patrica Dodson sued the laboratory under Section 1983.  All of her claims were dismissed under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, since a previous state-court order held that the agreement was enforceable.

Scary stuff, and the ex-husband certainly dodged a bullet.

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