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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 82

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos
Friday 2 March 1990, 12:00

At midday they went to the courthouse again.

“Excuse me, miss,” said Rocío to an employee, “I need to see the file ‘Artigas versus Burán concerning filiation acknowledgement’. According to this list it has been dispatched today, we’ve requested a precautionary measure, the procedural stage should be closed...”

It seemed a long wait for both of them, although it was only five minutes. Finally, the procedures were in their hands. Rocío read the relevant part of the judicial decision:

“Whereas: it is authorised in writing that the minor who demands the acknowledgement of his filiation is really the son of the defendant, Doctor Roberto Burán. His express acknowledgement eliminates all controversy and implies an acquiescence to the lawsuit. As a consequence, only questions pertaining to the costs of the trial are pending, and also those introduced by Doctor Burán, who is likewise taking legal action against Ms Juana Artigas. It is therefore my duty to declare the paternity of the defendant, with all the legal consequences this entails. The litigation should therefore continue, in order to decide the dispute presented by the father regarding the custody of the child and the removal of custody from Ms Juana Artigas. These problems will be treated thoroughly and decided in a definitive judgment. Meanwhile, the precautionary intention raised by Doctor Burán must be attended to. He requests, as a precautionary measure, that the mother of the minor be deprived ‘provisionally’ of custody. His petition is based on extremely grave imputations. According to the court’s criteria, these attain a certain verisimilitude, based on the issues already arising in the penal cause. The court is aware that Ms Artigas’s innocence must be presumed. But in this case, there are multiple complex problems whose peculiarities should be taken into account. In this situation, it is the obligation of the court to analyse the contradictions existing in the mother’s conduct. She has concealed her intimate friendship with Doctor Esteban Álvez, who at that time was offered as a witness. In addition to this conclusion, I must analyse public document number one hundred and eighty, which was obtained in the search carried out under the court’s jurisdiction. In said document, Doctor Álvez is designated guardian in the event of Ms Artigas’s death. Also relevant is the declaration given by Ms Estela Cáceres in the criminal proceedings. According to her, there was an amorous relationship between Juana Artigas and Esteban Álvez. It is clear that the link between the above-mentioned persons is far from that corresponding to a patient and a doctor. Notwithstanding, this is what the minor’s mother emphatically declares in her lawsuit, even claiming that her relationship with her gynaecologist did not go beyond the merely professional. I therefore consider it reasonable to state that the plaintiff has not told the truth about this crucial matter. The personal interest of the witness has been made apparent in writing, because hypothetically he could have become guardian of the child. This presumed familiarity between the mother and her doctor make the latter’s acts more relevant, together with the revelations of Miss Alicia Sandrelli. In this manner, the seized documents lend credence to the father’s version of events. The latter’s attitude has been clear and coherent. His subjection to the biological tests, including the bringing forward of the production of the tests, permitted the express acknowledgement of the filiation claimed. This conduct demonstrates the good faith of the plaintiff, who limited his claim to the request for the custody of the child and the child’s removal from Ms Artigas’s custody. In this case, we consider that article 264 (3rd) of the civil code allows the problem to be decided, the court deciding which of the parties will exercise custody. Thus, we arrange the hearing for March 14th 1990 at 9:00, so that the parties may defend their respective positions. Meanwhile, considering it in the best interests of the minor, custody is provisionally granted to the father, without affecting the possibility that this situation could be altered at a later date. The serious disagreements that evidently create a distance between the litigants make a specific and rapid conclusion necessary, with the mother’s right to visit the child being guaranteed, including her right to breastfeed him, should it be advised by the acting physician. Thus, in principle, unless the parties agree a different regime, Ms Artigas is granted permission to visit her son on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 14:00 to 19:00. The father must make available an adequate place for the meetings which permits the recreation of the baby and the comfort of the mother. The latter will not be able to remove the child from the place arranged for the visits, unless there is a prior agreement between the parties. I take into special account the report written by the counsellor of minors, which is favourable to this request. Being receptive to her opinion, I request the intervention of the Court psychologist to report periodically on the fulfilment of the arranged regime and its effects on the minor’s psyche. To make effective this handover to the father, I shall issue a court order, with authorisation of disqualified days and hours. The court officer shall be able to request the help of the police, should it prove necessary.”

Rocío stopped reading: she had analysed the fundamental part of the ruling and she was radiant, full of satisfaction. Roberto embraced her emotionally; they didn’t even realise that they were in a corridor full of people. It was a well-deserved triumph, they couldn’t obtain anything more...

“What do you think of it?” he asked.

“Perfect,” she said, “we couldn’t expect anything better; Doctor María del Carmen Fernández’s report was fundamental, everything depended on that. The judge had serious support to give you custody; they were brave and unquestionably fair...”

“What I don’t like is the visiting regime in favour of Juanita,” he commented.

“But what did you want, dear? A firing squad? The ruling is logical, inevitable, don’t forget she’s the mother... I know, Roberto! Don’t tell me truth is on your side. No matter how much you believe that, you’ll have to prove it in a criminal trial. Don’t let yourself be blinded because it’s a personal case, put your hand on your heart!”

“All right, Rocío, it’s true. But when I think that that wretch is going to come to my house to see the baby, it sends a shiver down my spine. What can I say? I can’t help it!”

“You’ll get used to it, Roberto, at least he’ll be with you all the time... Let’s see what attitude the mother adopts now; perhaps she’ll disappear, who knows...”

Roberto was hypersensitive, he couldn’t contain his tears... He found it difficult to bear so much tension; now he could release it after winning a decisive battle. His wonderful friend had defended him ardently, with deference and absolute devotion. He didn’t know how to express his gratitude; it was good to feel her close by. He moved closer to her and, looking into her eyes, whispered,

“How beautiful you are, my love. I want to kiss you so much,” he said, delicately putting his arm around her waist, ”let’s go home, please... I want to hold you tight, very tight, undress you and feel your skin... I love you very much, thanks for everything...”

“I love you too, Roberto, let’s go... But first, let me leave the writing of the court order in the hands of someone from your practice, OK? Don’t forget that today we’ll probably have to go and pick up Agustín.”

“As always, my beauty, you’re right...”

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationNovember 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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