Unwed father sues for wrongful adoption

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Unmarried Couples on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.

A $130 million federal lawsuit recently filed by an unwed father offers inspiration for Illinois dads in similar situations. The plaintiff, a Utah man, is suing his son’s mother for allegedly placing their child for adoption without prior paternal knowledge or proper consent. He further alleges the agency and adoptive parents conspired in an “illegal” and deceitful infant adoption to “deprive” him of custody.

Court papers indicate that the unmarried couple separated before the baby’s birth in December 2010, but the father says they subsequently stayed on friendly terms and even agreed to joint child custody. Via a website video, he also said he gave money to his unborn child’s mother while she was pregnant.

According to the father, the mother did not timely advise him when she gave birth and then placed their infant for adoption the next day. While disclosing those events a week later, she reportedly confessed to planning the adoption all along.

Another major complication emerged with the revelation that the woman was legally wed to another man. As presumed father by applicable state law, her estranged husband had the legal right to approve the adoption. Shortly after discovering that adoption proceedings had been finalized, the biological father filed a claim for paternity that is pending as of Jan. 2 in a state court.

This case reveals the current legal challenges facing unwed fathers seeking to assert their rights. It also highlights potential complexities of custody fights between unmarried couples. The combination of undisclosed marital statuses, the asserted paternity of a man who is not the husband of the biological mother and the conflicting interests of the biological parents along with Utah’s strict paternity laws render this case particularly complex. Should the man win his case, it could set a precedent for cases like it in other states and level the playing field for unwed fathers facing challenges to their paternity.

Source: ABC News, “Dad Files $130M Suit, Alleging His Son Was Unknowingly Put Up for Adoption“, Aditi Roy, January 02, 2014