SPOKANE, Wash. – A judge has refused to grant a divorce to a pregnant woman trying to leave her husband two years after he was jailed for beating her, ruling instead that she must wait until the child is born.
Shawnna Hughes’ husband was convicted of abuse in 2002. She separated from him after the attack and filed for divorce last April. She later became pregnant by another man and is due in March.
Her husband, Carlos, never contested the divorce, and the court commissioner approved it in October. But the divorce papers failed to note that Hughes was pregnant, and when the judge found out, he rescinded the divorce.
“There’s a lot of case law that says it is important in this state that children not be illegitimized,” Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine told The Spokesman-Review newspaper on Thursday.
Hughes’ attorney, Terri Sloyer, said nothing in state law says a pregnant woman cannot get a divorce.
“We don’t live in 15th-century England,” said Sloyer, who has appealed.
Under Washington state law, a husband is presumed to be the father of any child born within 300 days of a divorce. The judge argued that the paternity of the child needs to be determined before a divorce can be finalized.
Hughes has stated in court records that her boyfriend is the child’s father, and that the judge’s decision prevented her from marrying him.
“She has the right to divorce and be free to marry whoever she wants,” Sloyer said. “It’s about the choice, the fundamental right to choose.”
I saw that this happened in Spokane and had to post it. WTF?!? She wants to divorce her abusive husband, who is in jail because of abusive acts he committed on her, and the judge won’t allow the divorce because he finds out she’s pregnant! with another man’s baby! And now she can’t get married to her baby’s father. I’m embarrased that this happened in Spokane. I know it seems like there are a buch of rednecks living there- and they have thier fair share of them- but, really, the town is not as bad as this article would make it seem. Still…I am shocked that this happened… What was that judge thinking?!?