You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Loxahatchee man escapes $50,000 legal bill but still can’t see son

To the relief of a Loxahatchee man who is fighting for the right to help raise his biological son, he and his attorney won’t have to pay the nearly $50,000 his former girlfriend racked up in legal bills successfully battling his efforts.

In an order on Monday, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Karen Miller said the lawsuit filed by attorney Rebekah Brown-Wiseman to help Christopher Farrell get partial custody of his now 17-month-old son wasn’t frivolous or malicious.

“Rather, the claims involved matters of significant personal importance to all of the parties … and/or to make a good faith argument for a change of existing law and the establishment of new law governing the paternity of children born in wedlock,” she wrote.

She previously ruled that as a “sperm donor” Farrell had no right to have any contact with his son. But, she said, he shouldn’t be financially punished for trying to challenge long-established case law that prohibits biological fathers from having relationships with children who are born to women who are married to someone else.

The only way a biological father can help raise such a child is if the mother allows it. In Farrell’s case, his former girlfriend reunited with her husband after she got pregnant with Farrell’s child. While both she and her husband acknowledge Farrell is the child’s biological father, they have blocked his efforts to have any contact with the infant.

Brown-Wiseman unsuccessfully argued that times have changed since 1993 when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a child’s right to legitimacy is more important than a biological father’s right to raise the child. With single parents, divorced parents, step-parents, gay parents and all manner of individuals and couples raising children, it’s time to recognize the rights of biological fathers, she said.

But, the judge said, she is bound by the law which dictates that biological fathers have no rights to children born to “intact marriages.”

Brown-Wiseman said it would have been financially crippling to both her and Farrell if Miller had forced them to pay the former girlfriend’s legal bills. As it is, she said, Farrell is becoming increasingly demoralized. He is losing hope he will ever be able to help raise his son, she said.

Miller’s decision, denying him that right, has been appealed to the 4th District Court of Appeal, she said. A similar case out of Broward County is under consideration by the West Palm Beach-based appeals court.

Brown-Wiseman said she is hopeful the law will be changed. But, she said, time is of the essence. As Farrell’s son gets older it will become more difficult to build a relationship with him, she said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Couple takes Alzheimer’s curves as they come
Couple takes Alzheimer’s curves as they come

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Cheryl Levin-Folio can’t anticipate every new milestone of memory loss as she and her husband, Michael Folio, navigate his Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes quick thinking comes in handy, as it did when Michael forgot one day to take off his clothes before stepping into the shower. Rather than correct her husband...
Take care of your savings by taking care of your brain
Take care of your savings by taking care of your brain

Grab a bowl of berries and walk up a steep hill. Now you’re ready to learn three other ways to save your retirement fund. Confused? The advice is simplistic and ignores the devastating financial toll dementia-related expenses often add to a person’s struggle with the disease, but if there are some low-cost and relatively easy ways to delay...
Sentara’s Music and Medicine creates a healing duet for patients
Sentara’s Music and Medicine creates a healing duet for patients

NORFOLK, Va. — When the Johnny Cash melody frustrates James Rodriguez, he chuckles, shakes his head and says, “I don’t know.” Tracy Bowdish gently pushes him, taking his hand into hers as she leans closer and sings in bell-clear perfect pitch lyrics from “I Walk the Line.” The goal is to get Rodriguez to find the...
Don’t let your mind wander

Have you ever spent half an hour or more frantically looking for your keys? Is there a book that you know is on one of your book shelves, but for some reason you can’t find it? Do you often have to look for a few minutes before you find your parked car? These are fairly common problem, especially as you get older. You can’t just automatically...
Baby boomers are getting divorced in record numbers

Apparently, baby boomers don’t believe in happily ever after — at least when it comes to marriage. Since 1990, the divorce rate has doubled for U.S. adults 50 years and older, according to government data. This comes at a time when splitting up has actually become less common for the younger crowd. Though younger couples divorce more, their...
More Stories