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C.M. Hart
07-13-2014, 10:07 PM
Hi guys, I have a problem with parental rights.

My MC's ex girlfriend is pregnant, and claims MC is the father. She doesn't want the kid, asks MC to take it. Problem is, the child is clearly not his, since it's dark skinned, and MC and his ex are not.
Would it be possible to have the mother of the child give up her rights and give MC sole custody for the child? would anyone control that, or raise eyebrows? like the hospital where she gives birth or something?
It doesn't have to be 100%legal, but it does have to be believable.

The setup is in Chicago, although I could change that, if needed.

Thank you for all suggestions, I've been reading legislative texts for hours now, and still don't know more...

Thanks again!
C.M.

Karen Junker
07-13-2014, 10:13 PM
I'm not in Chicago, but have lots of experience with this kind of scenario -- and if the mother for example had listed the MC as the father on the birth certificate (they come around to you at the hospital for you to fill out the form that gets filed with the county) then no one would question it.

Also, it is quite possible for a dark-skinned child to be born to two lighter parents -- I've seen it happen a lot especially in families where a grand or great-grand parent was of African or Native American or Filipino descent.

C.M. Hart
07-13-2014, 10:41 PM
Thanks. I actually need the kid dark skinned so it's clear she cheated on him. Guess I'll have to make sure there are no grantparents that could pass on a darker skin color.

Editor and I spent a lot of time disussing it, but this seems to be the easiest way to go.
Thanks again

ironmikezero
07-13-2014, 11:00 PM
Unless you're deliberately trying to create controversy with the skin tone issue, a more definitive means to prove she cheated on him is for the baby to have a blood type that would not be possible were he the actual father.

http://www.biology.arizona.edu/human_bio/problem_sets/blood_types/inherited.html

While not always legally conclusive in all jurisdictions, it does open the door to more comprehensive genetic testing (DNA, etc.).

From an author's perspective this gives you the opportunity to ratchet up the tension, selectively stress your characters, delve into some back story, and further develop the depth of your characters.

What do you feel your story needs?

C.M. Hart
07-13-2014, 11:11 PM
The story's focus is not on the baby/his skin color. It's just meant to be instant proof that she indeed cheated. The color doesn't matter for the story setup. The child is born in the last chapter, so I don't have time for blood tests or such. I just need a pretty visible proof that the child can not be the biological son of my MC.

My story is already in editing, so I can't rewrite a lot (I need to add about four scenes anyways). I just want my MC to realize what a cheating bitch she was, and that he loves the child and sees him as his son, no matter what.

Thanks for all thoughts.

cmhbob
07-14-2014, 12:11 AM
I was going to suggest eye color, but that's not really settled for a couple of years.

IronMike has a good idea. Maybe the baby needs blood and dad offers to donate on the spot. The baby has AB blood, but dad is type O, for example. Blood typing is pretty quick, especially for a baby in the NICU. 45 minutes.

Doc: We had to take Junior to the NICU. He needs a little bit of blood and...
Dad: I'll go down there right now.
Doc: No, it's OK. Even though he's AB, which is kind of rare, we've got plenty for him.
Dad: Wait. What? I'm type O. How can he have AB?
....

Karen Junker
07-14-2014, 12:22 AM
Well, I have read a similar story in which the child was obviously part Asian -- and there was no Asian parent or ancestor.

jclarkdawe
07-14-2014, 01:19 AM
I'm not quite sure what exactly your scenario is, but if the mother lists a father on the birth certificate, and he does not object to being listed as the father, then legally he is deemed to be the father. If the father is objecting, then there is an issue that would have to be determined.

At a later date, the biological father could try asserting rights, but that can be hard to do. Even if the mother testifies as to who the biological father is, and it's not the father listed on the birth certificate, and the father that is listed on the birth certificate has been acting as the father, a judge is going to look a lot at the relationship that has been created. If the mother has terminated her rights, even with DNA evidence from the biological father, it's going to be hard to convince the judge that the father the child has known should not remain as the legal father.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

cornflake
07-14-2014, 07:26 AM
The story's focus is not on the baby/his skin color. It's just meant to be instant proof that she indeed cheated. The color doesn't matter for the story setup. The child is born in the last chapter, so I don't have time for blood tests or such. I just need a pretty visible proof that the child can not be the biological son of my MC.

My story is already in editing, so I can't rewrite a lot (I need to add about four scenes anyways). I just want my MC to realize what a cheating bitch she was, and that he loves the child and sees him as his son, no matter what.

Thanks for all thoughts.

That's pretty impossible, especially with a baby, but in general as well.

Debbie V
07-16-2014, 02:01 AM
I'd go blood type too. If the mom has had a prior pregnancy, an RH factor issue could come up at birth. Mom and boyfriend have the same RH factor but baby and his daddy don't. You'll have to get more on this from someone else, but I know there is something potentially harmful to the baby in it.

C.M. Hart
07-17-2014, 12:06 AM
Thank you all! I think I'll really go with blood, then. Now I just need to work it into the story.
I know a little about RH factor. This could work, too. Thanks

ScienceFictionMommy
07-17-2014, 10:04 AM
I wrote a story a while back with a similar issue, and I ran into problems when it came to skin tone. For one thing, the way an infant looks at birth does not necessarily have anything to do with how they will look in a few months, or even in a few weeks. Darker skinned children are often born pale, especially if they're mixed-race (because newborn skin is very thin) and they take on their more permanent complexions gradually over time (which doesn't help with the instant realization that someone cheated.) Ditto for hair color--newborns often lose the hair they're born with, and when it grows back, it can be a completely different color. Or even more strangely, there was a woman in my birthing class whose son was born with a full head of black hair, and it started growing in lighter, so the kid had about two inches of black hair on the ends with brown hair closer to his scalp. It looked like they'd dyed it and then never bothered to keep up with the color.

Babies are also very scrunched and squished right when they come out of the birth canal, so apart from very distinctive racial features, there isn't much physical about a newborn that can't potentially change as they fill out.

If you're going with the blood type idea, be aware that they don't take a blood sample and type it for every baby. I wanted to know my kiddos' blood types, but they didn't want to take any more blood than they needed for PKU tests (just a few drops.) If you need to know junior's blood type, NICU is the way to go.

Another possibility, you could have junior test positive for a genetic disease that usually only strikes certain racial groups (I know there are some, but specifics are not springing to mind at the moment, sorry.)