Father wins lengthy child custody fight over adoption

All Florida custody battles are distressing, for both the adults and the children involved. Some cases are more upsetting than others, however, and cases in which an adoption has been wrongfully processed are among the most difficult. An example is found in a child custody case in which a father recently won the right to raise his daughter, who was placed for adoption without his consent.

When the man found out about his girlfriend's pregnancy, he took the steps necessary to secure his paternal rights, filing a paternity petition with the court. However, the girlfriend soon moved to a different state, where the laws were more lenient regarding parental consent to adoption. She gave birth prematurely and signed away her parental rights to her brother and his wife, who have raised the child as their own since 2008. The biological father was not aware that the mother had left the state until after the child was born.

The man took the matter to court in both states and was able to have his case heard in his state of residence, rather than the state where his daughter was born. The case had to go through the appellate process, but the father was able to win based on the argument that the adoptive family did not have standing to participate in a custody matter. The court agreed, and the eventual custody case was between the biological parents. As the mother had already signed away her parental rights, the father was granted full custody of his daughter.  

As this case demonstrates, the adoption of a child is no small matter and should be handled with the utmost of care. That involves seeking the informed consent of both parents, even when they are no longer functioning as a couple. When these child custody matters go before a court, there are no real winners. One family has to begin establishing bonds with the child whom they lost, while another has to say goodbye to a child whom they have come to love. Florida families who are considering adoption should make every effort to proceed with caution and to ensure that the proper procedures are followed.  

Source: sltrib.com, "Colorado father wins case against ex who secretly put infant up for adoption in Utah", Tiffany Frandsen, May 5, 2017

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