A victory for fathers' rights as illegal adoption rescinded

Adoption is a hot topic in Minnesota and many other states, as fathers' rights are still being clarified. Fathers' rights advocates cite a recent "win" for their cause, which has brought more attention to the paternity issues that plague some families. A 9-year-old girl has been returned to her dad in Nebraska after her adoption was overturned. She had been living in Tennessee.

The girl's biological father said his parental rights were illegally terminated while he was in prison. The adoptive parents assumed legal custody of the girl when she was 3 years old, according to official reports. They had been her foster parents.

The father had initially been granted custody of the girl in 2004 after her mother surrendered her parental rights. He had hired a woman to take care of the girl while he was working. The woman asked whether she could take the girl with her to visit Tennessee in 2005, as she had to return for a family illness.

When the man went to retrieve his daughter, the family expressed concerns about releasing the girl, arguing that her father had a violent history. She was placed in the home of her Tennessee foster parents in October 2005. That month, the man was taken into custody on weapons charges. He was sentenced to a 15-year term. The adoption was granted based on the length of his sentence, after the court terminated the man's parental rights.

A judge refused to return the girl to her adoptive parents after the most recent ruling, citing the fact that the best interests of the child were not the determining factor in this case. The biological parent takes precedence in many custody rights cases. Officials explain that birth parents are granted the rights to raise their own children.

This fathers' rights case demonstrates the complex issues that can sometimes surround child custody proceedings. Minnesota family attorneys may be able to explain these legal requirements to dads who are seeking to exercise their fathers' rights. Attorneys may use different types of resources to pursue a positive outcome for their family law clients.

Source: The Dickson Herald, "Dickson couple loses custody of girl after apparent adoption overturned" Colleen Creamer, Feb. 07, 2014

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