Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Twelve men file lawsuit against Utah over adoption

Laws are written by men and as such are imperfect in purpose, creation, execution, and enforcement. When a loophole or other mistake is found in a law, individuals can use the system for their own benefit. This can apply to anything from criminal prosecution to a payday loan. Many times the benefit provided to one party is at the detriment of another party. This injustice can render the victim hopeless, especially when the perpetrators are protected by the system the victims are attempting to use to find justice.

Utah has developed a name for itself when it comes to adoptions and keeping fathers away from their children. As a state Utah has enacted laws that make it nearly impossible for a father to preserve their rights to their child and fight adoptions while giving mothers immunity from fraud and other criminal actions. As such, Utah has become the favorite forum for mothers seeking to give up their children for adoption without the father's knowledge or consent. Twelve men who have battled adoptions in Utah's legal system have filed a federal lawsuit against Utah, its attorney generals, and others. The suit alleges that Utah allows "legalized fraud and kidnapping" and that the former attorney generals did not act to correct the criminal acts taking place under the law. The lawsuit not only seeks monetary damages but also seeks a finding that Utah's Adoption Act is unconstitutional.

Utah's Adoption Act specifically excludes acts such as fraud, duress and undue influence, among others, as reasons for contesting a final decree of adoption. This allows a mother to commit all these acts during the course of a pregnancy and adoption without having to worry about her decision being overturned. The act further places the burden on the father to not only prevent fraud but to ameliorate the effects of fraud, an impossible task for many as the laws they seek to rely on support the mother. While the victim may pursue civil and criminal remedies against the party this does not give the victim what they are looking for, the right to raise their child.

Source: Salt Lake Tribune, "Salt Lake Tribune. Suit: Utah adoption laws permit 'legalized fraud and kidnapping," Brooke Adams, Jan. 22, 2014

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