Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Utah Supreme Court addresses man's adoption fight

For many parents the birth of their child is the happiest moment in their life. It represents the culmination of all their dreams and hopes for a family. When the birth parents are not married or divorced, that joy can be replaced with fight after fight over child custody. In some very unfortunate cases, women and the state have used adoption to effectively strip fathers of their parental rights. The mothers do this with little to no legal consequences.

A multi-tour Iraq vet is in the fight of his life as he attempts to gain custody of his daughter from her adoptive parents. The soldier's journey started when his then-girlfriend fled Pennsylvania a month before her due date to give birth in Utah. Two days after the child's birth she gave her up for adoption while telling the father the child was a boy and had died. Several months and court hearings later it was uncovered that the child was alive and had been adopted in Utah. After being rejected by a trial court, which said he filed too late the case was heard by Utah's Supreme Court.

According to the father's attorney, court documents show that the mother and adoption agency engaged in illegal activity, which kept the father from his daughter. Utah currently has no legal penalties for the type of adoption fraud perpetrated by the mother, while Utah's Adoption Act makes it easier for this type of fraud to succeed. Utah's Supreme Court has yet to make a ruling in the case.

Adoption was meant to place children with no other home into the homes of families who wanted to care for child. The abuse of the well-intentioned system is an affront to all parents who give their all to raise their child.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah Supreme Court weighs Pennsylvanian's adoption fight," Brooke Adams, March 26, 2013

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