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Fathers' rights case ends in child's removal from couple

A definitive victory that may be felt by dads in Minnesota and other states was decided in a Northeastern state just days ago. The fathers' rights case was a decisive win because it forced a Maine couple to abandon their custody claims to a child who had been sent to another state to live with his biological father. The couple had sought to terminate the man's paternal rights, according to official news reports. The recent ruling confirmed a previous decision that had been handed down in October 2013.

The situation is rather complicated, but it began in 2009 when the child was handed over to the non-relative couple because of the boy's mother. She had agreed to award the couple with temporary guardianship, which is the first step toward permanent adoption. The mother, however, had multiple sexual partners around the time of conception, and she did not notify the child's father that she had given birth until months after the child arrived.

In 2011, after his release from prison, the Indiana man initiated proceedings to secure custody rights. In 2012, a court agreed that a DNA test was appropriate to determine paternity. After the child was identified as the man's son, he was ordered transferred to Indiana. The couple protested, arguing that the man was not fit to parent the boy.

However, a judge in the case determined that the couple had not met the legal burden required to retrieve the child. The court found that the man was both capable and willing to parent his son. Further, biological parents are correctly given priority in most child custody cases.

Fathers, even those who have spent time in prison, deserve to have access to their children if they are deemed to be fit parents. The man in this case scored a major win for fathers' rights because of his efforts. A Minnesota attorney may be able to help men who are fighting for their own paternal rights.

Source: Bangor Daily News, "Hancock County couple loses adoption fight; boy to stay with biological father in Indiana" Judy Harrison, Mar. 04, 2014

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