In our last post we discussed the rights of a father whose daughter was put up for adoption by his wife without his consent. As mentioned previously, after this father learned of his daughter's adoption, he contacted the adoption agency. Even though the adoptive parents knew the baby's father did not consent to the adoption, they continued with the legal process of adopting the baby girl anyway.
More than a year after the father learned of his daughter's adoption, the case finally went to court. A judge ruled that the adoptive parents must give the toddler to her father. In addition, the judge stated that when the father refused to consent to the adoption, the adoptive parents and adoption agency should have taken steps to immediately return the baby to her father.
The judge stated that by Utah law, if a couple is married, both parents must approve of their baby's adoption. There will be an additional hearing in January to determine how the toddler will transition from living with her adoptive parents to living with her biological father.
This father has had to go through many hoops to receive custody of a daughter who he never wanted to put up for adoption in the first place. This man missed out on the first two years of his daughter's life because of his wife's actions and the resulting issues with the adoptive parents and adoption agency.
Fathers going through a divorce may also miss out on spending time with their children. It is important that when a couple with children divorces, both parents are considered equally when custody decisions are being made. Fathers may often be presumed to be less fit parents, but every family situation is unique and both fathers and mothers deserve the opportunity to receive custody rights.
This man would have benefitted from a more thorough investigation by the adoption agency into his whereabouts and interest in raising his daughter. Similarly, many fathers going through a divorce may benefit from an in depth look into their parenting abilities.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Father is ready to turn page on Utah adoption horror story," Brooke Adams, Dec. 3, 2012
To learn more about fathers' rights, please visit our New York City family law website.