Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Dad must wait to gain custody of daughter

Child custody is often a very sensitive subject for parents. Those parents involved in a child custody dispute can speak to the emotional and financial toll such an undertaking can cause. Even so, there are few parents who gain custody of their child who regret fighting through the process.

A father who was expecting to take his daughter home for one of the first times in years has been told the trip will have to wait. Utah's Supreme Court put a temporary hold on order returning the daughter back to her father. The case started when the man's now ex-wife relinquished her parental rights to the child and put her up for adoption while the man was stationed in South Carolina for military duty. Since discovering the adoption, the father has been fighting for the return of his daughter for the last two years. The latest legal filing comes after he was awarded custody of his daughter by the trial judge, who deemed the adoption illegal.

Children born into a marriage are presumptively considered products of that marriage. In this case, the adoption was allowed because the child's mom had told the agency that the husband had abandoned the family and had no interest in the child. As the trial judge in this case found, parents have a "fundamental liberty interest" in raising their child without undue government interference.

It is likely that this case is an exception rather than the norm for the adoption industry in the United States as there is little grey area in the law when it comes to fraud in adoptions.

Source: SaltLakeTribune "Utah Court puts temporary hold on returning adopted girl to dad," Brooke Adams, Jan. 15, 2013

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