Having Another Man’s Child
CBS Reporter Lara Logan’s Situation Could Be Tough Legally as Well as Emotionally
Lara Logan usually reports the news. These days, she’s become the news. That’s because CBS’s foreign affairs correspondent, who is separated her husband, has been named as the other woman in the divorce of a Texas man.
Joseph Burkett, a federal contractor whom Logan met while reporting in Iraq, is also separated from his wife, Kimberly, with whom he has a 3-year-old daughter. Logan announced earlier this week that she is pregnant with Burkett’s baby, which is due in January. The couple — both of whom are still working on their divorces– plan to marry at some point, she said.
The complicated love triangle that has become fodder for stories in print, on TV and online.
“What a way to begin parenthood! Each of the couples is STILL married to different partners. That means they must still navigate the legal and emotional wranglings of former spouses, and in the man’s case, a child.That can be exhausting and debilitating,” said Dr. Gilda Carle, an internationally-known psychotherapist/relationship expert whose newe-Book is “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats.”
“The couple connected under the stress and duress of war time. Most difficult is that when they return home, they might not even know each other! How do two people who came together to assuage the horrors of war create consistent and supportive parenting? This will probably be Lara’s most difficult assignment yet,” Carle said.
Jay P. Granat, a New York psychotherapist with 24 years of clinical experience, say it’s not unusual for high-powered individuals like Logan to have complicated love lives. “I have counseled judges, surgeons, attorneys, actors, writers and many visible and highly accomplished people. When emotions, sex, children, parenthood and intimacy are involved, many people make impulsive, irrational and damaging decisions,” he said.
The 37-year-old reporter doesn’t appear to think her decisions are an issue.”Nobody likes to read about themselves like that, especially the way it’s been sensationalized,” Logan told The Washington Post. “I hated it. But I’m just going to rise above it and keep going.”
Logan also said she is looking forward to becoming a mother, particularly because she didn’t think she could after an ectopic pregnancy earlier in her life left her missing a fallopian tube.
It’s a tough situation to be in personally for the 37-year-old — but also could have legal, financial, and professional consequences for herself and Burkett, according to experts. The situation has already come upin Burkett’s divorce: “It’s a very public airing of the marital dirty laundry. It’s humiliating. It’s embarassing,” said Judy Poller, a partner in the Bronstein Schuck & Poller Matrimonial Law Group at Dreier LLP. And “To have the other woman pregnant, it complicates it even more.”
“As far as the pregnancy, it’s also going to emotional complicate things forBurkett’s young daughter, who not only has to get used to a new person in her father’s life but also a new sibling in a few months”, said Poller, who specializes in custody and visitation issues. “And what legal issues could arise? Some states take fault into account in their financial awards,” she said of Burkett’sdivorce.
“For Logan, the legal and financial issues are less troubling”, Poller said. “The couple has reportedly been estranged for some time — living separate lives, including financially, which means neither spouse is likely to get stuck with the debt another has run up, nor is either likely to have to pay the other alimony”, Poller said. “Even proving paternity doesn’t appear to be an issue for Logan, who is financially self-sufficient and doesn’t need child support from Burkett.”
While it plays no part in the actual divorce process, journalism instructor Lenore Skomal of Erie, Pa., said news reporters are trained to be observers of stories, not the focus of them. “…Television and other visual media have elevated many working journalists to almost celebrity status in the public’s mind… For Logan to risk putting herself in the middle of a media circus thanks to her extramarital affair, her pending divorce (and that of her beau’s) as well the unexpected stork arrival, was a bit reckless and didn’t show much foresight, in terms of her career and position.”
Skomal’s best advice for anyone considering following in Logan’s footsteps: “End the current marriage before you let an affair dictate your next step,” she said. “And whatever you do, try not to baby make with the new guy until you are divorced. It makes for an awkward story to tell the little one.”