[Guest post by DRJ]
Michigan has a law that requires a birth father to reimburse the state for his child’s state-paid birthing costs, but reimbursement is waived if the father is married to the mother. Gary Johnson, an unwed father, isn’t married to Rebecca Witt, his child’s birth mother, so Michigan billed Johnson $3,800 for their child’s birthing costs. He doesn’t want to pay.
Johnson and Witt say they are going to get married but they want the wedding to occur when she chooses:
“Johnson and Witt said they want to marry eventually, but Witt said she wants her marriage date to be her choice.
“I don’t think anybody should tell me when to get married,” said Witt. “I would like to have a nice wedding, and I can wait for it.”
Witt and Johnson said they have been struggling since the state started coming after Johnson for the hospital costs. Johnson said he was told he would be billed $500 a month and planned to meet with a caseworker to work out a solution.
“Losing just $10 hurts us,” said Johnson, who makes $8 an hour at a Grand Blanc-area nursery. “We don’t have a car, we don’t even have an oven.”
Johnson said he understood the state wants to promote marriage for parents but he respects Witt’s position. “It’s a woman’s dream to have the best wedding she can have,” he said.”
Witt can wait for a perfect wedding but not to start a family? This couple has a lot bigger problems than worrying about the perfect wedding, and it’s a real-world example of how woefully unprepared some people are to make basic economic and life decisions.