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Melissa A. Featherston

Missouri fathers' rights: Man fought 2 years to regain custody

The loss of a child can be unthinkable for Missouri parents, but one man fought for the right to regain custody of his daughter and has finally won the battle. The man was married to the little girl's mother, and when his daughter was born, the mother claimed the father had abandoned them and put her up for adoption. What followed was a lengthy battle, but it ultimately resulted in an apparent victory for fathers' rights.

His daughter was given up for adoption in 2011. The mother reportedly traveled out of the state to sign the adoption paperwork, never gathering the father's consent. When he found out, the father reached out to the adoption agency involved and requested his daughter be returned. However, the agency refused and continued to press forward with the adoption.

A judge ruled the man's parental rights were violated and ordered the adoptive couple to give the child back to the father. The family tried to retain custody, but the efforts were denied by the judge and by the state's Supreme Court. The case is still being appealed, but the father's attorney does not believe the adoptive family will prevail. He blames the mother and the state of Utah for having lax laws concerning fathers' rights. The child was just recently returned to the father, but the adoptive family has received visitation rights while she transitions and possibly for longer.

When fathers' rights have been violated, Missouri parents have the right to seek assistance through the court. Situations like this are not a common occurrence, though this one resulted in a long and emotional legal journey for the father. Although the adoptive couple has lost custody, the court's ruling upholds the right of fathers to participate in parenting decisions regarding their children.

Source: Deseret News, "Baby Teleah returned to biological father; decision called a victory for father's rights," Marjorie Cortez, Jan. 26, 2013

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