Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Farb v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - June 2, 2009)

You and your wife hired a surrogate back in '93 . She got pregnant with twins in January of '94, but shortly thereafter, you not only decided that you didn't want children with your wife, but you didn't want her at all. You left her, and your divorce was final in May of '94. Meanwhile, the pregnancy continued apace, and in October '94, out came two twins -- Rita and Robert. The kids lived with your (now ex-) wife, and you didn't provide any child support or anything like that. They were hers.

Fast forward a dozen years, to 2006. You die. You're worth over $120 million. So needless to say, this is going to be a tough probate; indeed, as of 2009, it's still ongoing. A little over a year after you die, your twin surrogate children sue your estate for what they allegedly should have gotten in child support.

A thorny issue on the merits, huh? But one that the judiciary need not resolve, because you'll note that I said the lawsuit was filed a little over a year after you died. That little bit matters. CCP 366.2 says you have to sue a dead person within a year after his death. You didn't. Hence you lose.

The lesson for the day is not to wait to sue dead people. They've got all the time in the world. You don't.

P.S. - There is perhaps another lesson here about not deciding to have children shortly before deciding to get divorced. Maybe you want to think about those things in reverse order, eh? But that's a separate issue.