The issue of fathers' rights is an important one, but one that doesn't get as much attention as it should. Florida law doesn't have a history of presuming the best intentions from fathers. As a result, the law tends to be stacked against a well-meaning dad. Standing up for a father's rights can take some doing, but is possible with the support of an experienced attorney.
Perhaps one of the most notable examples of the kinds of complications that can arise in a father's struggle to exercise his rights to relationship with his child or children is offered in the recent "Baby Veronica" case.
Chances are you have heard of it. On the odd chance you haven't, let us offer it up for you here.
The child, Veronica, was born in 2009 in Oklahoma to her unwed mother. Her soldier father, who happens to Native American, had not been around through the pregnancy or the delivery. That led the mother to give her daughter up for adoption by a couple in South Carolina.
Not long after her birth, Veronica's dad began efforts to exercise his paternal rights and to seek custody. He worked for two years and went so far as to leverage a federal law that is meant to assure the integrity of Native American families in his bid, and eventually did win custody.
But the adoptive parents carried their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and this past summer won a ruling in their favor. In the wake of that South Carolina courts finalized the adoption. And last month, yet two more years later, Veronica was transferred to the adoptive couple.
Does that leave the biological father out in the cold? Well, the dad recently issued a statement pledging that he intends to remain part of her life. And the adoptive parents have indicated they are willing to entertain the idea of an open adoption.
Some family law experts say such an arrangement might be in the little girl's best interests. They note that her situation is unique in that she has spent about equal time with two apparently loving families. And they say an open adoption may allow that care to continue, while also allowing the child to stay connected to her Native American cultural roots.
Source: Live5News.com, "Dusten Brown releases statement on Veronica's transfer to Capobiancos," Corey Davis, Sept. 26, 2013