Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Man files $130 million claim regarding son's adoption

Utah adoptions and the laws that allow them have increasingly come under fire, as more and more fathers go to the courts with seemingly legitimate claims of deception. Utah is one of a very few states whose laws are accused of protecting mothers who essentially perpetrate fraud, while creating myriad hurdles for biological fathers to vest their rights in their children. These laws and the adoption issues they create have brought to life horror stories of fathers who spend years in court attempting to gain custody.

A Utah father has brought a $130 million federal lawsuit against those he believes were involved in the illegal and deceitful adoption of his son. The complaint alleges violations such as human trafficking, fraud and even racketeering. His lawsuit names not only the biological mother and adoption agency but the adoptive parents and attorneys who helped in the adoption. The child's mother and biological parent, who initially appeared to be divorced, allegedly lied to the father on multiple occasions about both her marital status and her willingness to co-parent the child.

She later gave birth to the child with the father's knowledge. Since she was still married to another man, though, she had her estranged husband sign the adoption papers, waiving his legal rights to a child that was not biologically his. This allowed the adoption to take place before the actual biological father even knew his child had been born.

While this is not the first lawsuit of its kind, it may be the start of a trend for fathers who feel their children have been unjustly adopted without their knowledge or consent. It is often the case that businesses will cease activities that are no longer profitable. The knowledge that a single lawsuit can place a business in financial turmoil, if successful, may create an atmosphere that deters the types of adoptions alleged in the suit. Ultimately it will be up to Utah's legislators to craft a new law that is equitable to all parties involved in bringing life into this world, but lawsuits such as this father's may pave the way sooner rather than later.

Source: Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah father takes fight for son to federal court," December 30, 2013

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