The fabric of family law is constantly being reworked and amended as the norms of society change. Significant inroads have been made in recent years giving men in Florida greater power to exercise parenting rights.
Still, courts are often predisposed to favor mothers when it comes to custody or parenting plan issues. That makes it all the more necessary for fathers who desire to be part of their child's life to retain experienced legal counsel to help explore options.
One case of unwed parents out of Utah offers what some legal experts would likely see as a novel approach in the fathers' rights arena. It cites federal law in alleging that an adoption that stripped the father of his rights amounts to racketeering.
Accused in the suit are the mother, who was estranged but not divorced from her husband, a family services agency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the adoptive parents and attorneys who worked on the adoption. The plaintiff is seeking $130 million in compensation.
According to the father's attorney, the intent is to reveal that current processes are tantamount to a racket involving kidnapping, wire fraud, selling of children and human trafficking. He says it's also intended to hold all the defendant parties accountable.
At the core of the suit is the father's claim that he made clear that he wanted the child, even if the mother did not. But after the child was born, she allowed the child to be adopted.
Adding to the quandary is that, while the father had initiated a paternity claim upon learning of the delivery, he had not registered with the state's putative father registry. According to reports on the case, that means the woman's husband was the legal father and he gave up his parental rights, too, after being pressed by adoption officials.
The suit alleges that social workers and attorneys then rushed the adoption through the legal process without keeping the father informed.
How the case will be resolved will have to be seen. Meanwhile, a custody claim by the father is in the appeals process.
Source: KSL-TV, "Unwed father alleges racketeering in adoption lawsuit," Emily Morgan and Carole Mikita, Dec. 30, 2013