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Utah's Birth Father's Rights


Dad files $130M lawsuit after son in Utah is given up for adoption

There have been a couple of recent adoption cases from Utah involving biological fathers not knowing that their children were placed for adoption.
The most recent case, in the above link, involves a man who alleges the mother of his son conspired with adoptive parents, the adoption agency and attorneys to place the baby for adoption without allowing him to seek custody.
Utah is not generally known as the most birthfather-friendly states as it requires a lot from the man, such as filing a paternity petition, getting a sworn affidavit, creating a detailed child care plan and proving they were financially invested in the pregnancy, among other requirements in order to gain custody.
Other adoption cases involve men who claim that their baby’s mother specifically sought out Utah to give birth in and then place their baby for adoption, without the birthfather’s consent.  Sometimes these adoptions have been overturned, but not always.

What’s your reaction to this story?
Should it be easy for biological fathers to gain custody of their children?
Or is a complicated system, like in Utah, better because it means the man truly wants to parent his child?

Replies

Here are a couple of articles that give more of an insight into the issues with Utah’s laws:

http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-11795-some-call-it-kidnapping.html?current_page=all

http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/Thurnwald050807.pdf

http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/appopin/babygirl101050610.pdf

One issue:

“Despite that victory, which modestly expanded putative-fathers’ rights, Thurnwald still lost his child. After proving that his petition was submitted in time, the Utah Court of Appeals later ruled his plan for care was deficient (pdf) because it was submitted without his signature and thus was not a sworn affidavit, as required by law. The court also said Thurnwald’s plan was not detailed enough. That’s what provoked Judge Davis, in a concurring opinion, to write that fathers like Thurnwald are in “an impossible bind” because while the law says fathers must adhere to the rules with “strict compliance,” the law fails to explain what level of detail is adequate.”

For another chap in Florida, who signed onto putative registries in Florida and Arizona:

“In December, he received a note from Shasta: “Hey, Ramsey, I’ll be in Arizona with my family for the holidays and will stay on in Utah for awhile.” It was a strange note to receive after weeks of no communication and ample anger preceding that. But, that random and mysterious note—a so-called “qualifying circumstance” under Utah law—triggered a 20-day deadline for Shaud to comply with Utah’s adoption laws—by hiring a Utah attorney and submitting various forms—or lose his child.”

For another father in Virginia, his baby was actually born in Virginia, the Utah agency came to Virginia and took the baby to Utah and thus Utah decided the father had to comply with their laws:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041302445.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/19/AR2010041904667.html

Note that the bmother in the above case is now on the side of the bfather.

The following article calls for a speed-up of the hearing process.

http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/jlfs/article/viewFile/287/243

However, I believe that the long drawing out is deliberate because then the adoptive family’s solicitor use the “only family the child has known” argument - they do it in the hope that if they deliberately draw it out for years, then the bparents may give up so as not to disrupt the child’s life.  This is a common practice apparently. 

You will notice one particular attorney is mentioned in the article.

Posted by catherinenz on Jan 02, 2014 at 12:16pm

Wow, thanks for all of this info!

Posted by Danielle Pennel on Jan 02, 2014 at 9:22pm

I agree Fiona!  We will not be looking into adopting from Utah, I can tell you that.

Posted by downtonfan on Jan 12, 2014 at 5:58am

I think Utah should be sanctioned for child trafficking.  And anyone who feels entitled enough to fight a parent for the right to raise their own child should be blacklisted from ever attempting to adopt again.

The John Wyatt case disturbs me the most because his daughter was born in VA and he got custody of her at birth, but Utah basically told him he was SOL.  He should just snatch her and get back to VA. 

Notice how the lawyers involved are trying to say the men are only in it for the money?  Well, they can’t get their kids back, so what else is left to lose?  They were thwarted by the mothers, the agency, the state and the adopters themselves.  They have a right to raise their own children, not have to fight biological strangers in court for the right to raise their own flesh and blood. 

I have nothing nice to say to any potential adoptive family who thinks they have more rights over a child than the father should he come forward and want to parent.  They’re nothing more than kidnappers at that point.

Posted by Hailey on May 30, 2014 at 5:37pm

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