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Father files a $130 million lawsuit, seeking custody of his son

Divorcing couples in Georgia with child custody issues may be able to learn something from the case of an unwed father in Utah who sued the mother of his child for $130 million, alleging she put their son up for adoption without his knowledge. The dad filed a complaint in U.S. District Court on Dec. 27, telling the court the boy was 'kidnapped" and the adoptive parents conspired with the adoption agency to deny him his child. According to court records, the couple met in 2009 but broke up before the baby was born.

The couple remained on amicable terms and allegedly agreed to share custody, but when the mother gave birth to the baby on Dec. 29, 2010, she put the boy up for adoption the next day. When the father learned of the birth a week later, he immediately filed for paternity. The mother later admitted she planned all along to put the baby up for adoption. When the father filed, he learned that the mother was still married to her estranged husband, who legally had the right to relinquish child custody.

Because she was not married to the biological father, the mother may have felt she had exclusive rights to make adoption decisions. The father's viewpoint could have been that she chose to be dishonest from the outset. But what complicates the case is that Utah law views the woman's estranged husband as the legal father, having more rights than the biological father.

Another disadvantage for the biological father is that he filed his paternity case after the adoption was completed, which may have been too late. The case, which centers on fathers' rights, is still being debated. Custody rights traditionally have favored the mother in most cases, but the biological father's legal challenge seeks to level the playing field. Divorced men seeking more access to their children may wish to consult a family attorney to learn their rights as parents.

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

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