November 5th, 2013

Happiness Is

Legal Question: Establishing Paternity After Long Period

Story Setting: Modern Day New York City
Details: Child conceived in Ohio in drunken night involving mistaken identity on part of Mother by Father (he mistook her for his girlfriend) and a bad attempt at proving she's not gay. After finding out she was pregnant, Mother ran away from home to New York. When the child was born, Mother refused to give Father's name to avoid making him obligated to Child. Due to refusing to acknowledge Father, Mother is denied access to social services, relying instead on working as much as she is capable and charitable groups like churches for support. Fast forward ten to twelve years and Mother is now with a same-sex partner in a committed, caring, and financially stable relationship involving co-parenting of Child who is happy and healthy. Somehow Father and his wife - who do not live in New York - find out about Child and start to try and gain custody.
Additional Details: Mother has never attempted to collect child support or contacted Father. Lack of contact is not due to maliciousness but an attempt to protect Father who she regards as a friend. All parties know each other from interactions as teenagers (excepting Child of course) in hometown which has lead to some bad blood between Wife and Mother and Partner. Wife is spearheading attempt to take Child, not Father. Father only wishes to get to know Child - something which Mother and Partner can support.
What I'm Looking For:

  1. Do Father and Wife have a leg to stand on legally to try and take the child after up to twelve years from birth?

  2. Is there a statue of limitations to be able to petition to force a paternity test on a child that a man believes might be his?

  3. Would Mother and Partner have trouble with a second-parent adoption of Child? Father's name not on birth certificate.

  4. As Child has never known Father, would the courts possibly force the relationship to occur?

  5. If Father and Wife find out after the second-parent adoption takes place, can they attempt to overturn it?

Searched: "proving paternity to ten year old new york" "paternity laws new york" "second parent adoption new york" "custody law for unwed fathers in new york" "new york custody law" "new york birth laws"
Me in Calgary

What happens to a body left on a salt flat?

My main character comes across the body of a woman who'd been executed by being hobbled, and left to die of dehydration & exposure out on a salt flat. I'm trying to find information on how this would affect the normal decomposition of the body.

I've tried googling various permutations of mummification, natural mummification, dessication, corpse, body, salt flat, & salt pan.

What I've been able to find is that a body buried in dry sand will frequently mummify on its own. I've also found info on bodies that had been depositied in very dry desert caves, that also dried out and mummified instead of decomposing by putrification & being broken down further by scavengers.

But what happens to a human body that's been left laying about on the surface of a salt flat? Roughly, what could he expect to find if he comes across the corpse somewhere between 2-6 months after she'd died?