Texas readers may have heard of a recent custody battle that has tested the bounds of the constitutional rights afforded to parents throughout the nation. The unusual child custody case involves an adoptive family and a biological father, and is a scenario in which all sides have suffered enormous levels emotional turmoil. A recent court decision has ended the most recent chapter of the struggle, and returned a 22-month-old child to her father’s care.
The story began when a husband and wife were preparing for the birth of their first child. The father, a drill sergeant with the U.S. Army, was transferred out of state before the child was born. His wife stayed behind, but then made a unilateral decision to place the child up for adoption without the father’s consent. The adoption was processed through an agency, which found an adoptive family and placed the child in their care.
The father found out what had become of his child a few months after her birth, and contacted the adoption agency to demand the return of his daughter. However, they decided to ignore his claims of paternity, and went forward with the finalization of the adoption. He was then forced to file a child custody case against the adoptive parents.
The family court presiding over the matter recently issued a ruling that would return the child to her father’s care. In making that determination, the judge took care to assert that the adoptive parents had loved and properly cared for the child, but that the constitutional rights held by the father were simply paramount. This child custody case demonstrates the wide range of issues that come before family courts in Texas and elsewhere. The story also provides an example of the heartbreak that can occur when an adoption is not properly processed, and the need to ensure that all legalities are considered when adopting a child.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, “Utah judge upholds decision to give father custody of his child,” Brooke Adams, Jan. 4, 2013