Michigan divorce commentary: Birth support

Birth Support and Divorce in Michigan:  On July 6, 2012, Shari Motro, a law professor at the University of Richmond wrote an editorial in the New York Times advocating Preglimony. Preglimony is sort of alimony for pregnant woman and would include the loss of income arising from pregnancy, or the cost of an abortion. Professor Motro advocates that “Preglimony names and in that way honors the man’s role in caring for his pregnant lover.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/opinion/time-for-pregnancy-support-alimony.html#h[StsSas,3]

Pregnancy support? Seriously?

Birth expenses or confinement expenses are already part of the Michigan Child Support formula. The obligation for reimbursement of medical expenses in connection with a mother’s pregnancy and the birth of a child are currently based on each parent’s ability to pay and apportion the expenses in the same manner as health care expenses. Courts can also take into consideration any other relevant factor.

Is Preglimony far behind? Professor Motro notes that a prenatal blood test exists that can genetically link a father with a pregnant woman.

Pregnancy is either a gift from god or nature whichever fits your belief system.  Many women strive for full equality with men, a notion I support.  However, men obviously cannot get pregnant.

Professor Motro’s support of preglimony attempts to create an accommodation for women by associating the burden of pregnancy without an equal accommodation to men for the “gift” of pregnancy.  Consider an equally ridiculous paternal form of preglimony which would honor the female’s role in caring for the father’s inability to get pregnant?

After all, “A mother’s joy begins when new life is stirring inside… when a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time, and a playful kick reminds her that she is never alone.” – author unknown

Professor Motro’s proposal for preglimony promotes inequality and her logic flawed. Pregnancy has its burdens, however it also has incredible benefits that can only be experienced by women.

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By:  Daniel Findling

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3 thoughts on “Michigan divorce commentary: Birth support

  • I took at look at the NYT article. I see you say that Michigan law allows for expenses related to the birth, but I couldn’t tell from your response if it allows for payments for loss of income. Some women are ordered on bed rest and even with disability insurance, their whole income isn’t covered. Also, most women are under doctor’s orders to stay home for 6 weeks after a birth, especially a C-Section.

    Also, the article indicated that most pregnancy expenses are included under a child support order, and there may not be one if the child is stillborn or miscarried.

    Just trying to understand the difference between your opinion and hers (and obviously she is writing to a national audience and not Michigan in general, often a problem when people read nationally published articles and aren’t familiar with Michigan law and how it differs.)

    • Michigan law does not provide for loss of income arising from a pregnancy. I agree with the notion that if a child is not born, there is neither a claim under either the Michigan paternity act or the Michigan Custody act for the costs associated with the pregnancy. I am not aware of a Michigan case that would support the notion, if the child is not born. Hypothetically, a claim may be brought for confinement (birth) expenses under other theories of law (e.g. tort or contract) however, I cannot envision the claim(s) having a high probability of success.

      Daniel

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