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Fathers' rights can be jeopardized in some adoption cases

In Illinois and states across the country, the law may not safeguard fathers’ rights under certain circumstances. And unfortunately, many biological fathers may not know their paternity rights are compromised until they’re forced into a major legal dispute. One father learned this the hard way since he’s now embedded in a custody battle over his biological son, who was placed into adoption without his consent.

The man was prepared to be a father even before his son was born in March of 2008. He told the baby’s mother that he didn’t want her to place their child into adoption care, and made the point to express those same concerns to his state’s Family Services agency. Court records note, however, that the birthmother put the child up for adoption once she realized the biological father failed to complete the necessary paperwork to prove his paternity rights.

The father’s efforts to halt the adoption process failed at the district court level because he did not complete the legal requirements of the state’s adoption laws. The presiding judge found that if the man wanted to ensure his rights to the child, he should have submitted a sworn affidavit profiling his child support and care preparations, along with the paternity petition he filed before the baby’s birth.

The case is now in the hands of the state’s Supreme Court, as the man is appealing the lower court’s ruling. His attorney claims that it is unconstitutional to require unwed biological fathers to comply with different regulations than unwed mothers. The attorney for the child’s adoptive parents is arguing, on the other hand, that forcing fathers to submit sworn affidavits is the best way to gauge their commitment to caring for a child.

Unfortunately for all, this case may be far from over. 

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, “Utah adoption law provision discriminates against men, attorney claims,” Brooke Adams, June 4, 2013

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