Florida father fights for child adopted without his knowledge

When a Florida resident learned that his girlfriend was pregnant with his child, the man was happy. Although they were a young couple, they agreed to raise the child together. The pair moved into the man's parent's house and began to prepare for their child. They bought a crib and stocked up on clothes. After the couple quarreled and the expectant mother moved out, however, things took a turn for the worse, and the father now finds himself fighting to assert what he believes is his right to custody of his daughter.

After the pregnant mother moved out of the shared residence, the father attempted to contact her, but he claims she responded only sporadically and did not call him when she went into labor, and his name was not added to the birth certificate. To make matters worse, she signed away her parental rights and put her infant daughter up for adoption without consulting the father. He has been fighting ever since to get custody of his little girl. The adoption agency called the man and told him that he had no choice but to sign over his rights.

The man claims that no one told him that he had to file paperwork with the state to be recognized as the girl's father. As a result, he has no parental rights under Florida law. The mother has since changed her mind, but she cannot regain her maternal rights. More that a year later, the fight continues.

This case illustrates how important it is for unmarried parents to understand their rights. An attorney with experience in fathers' rights matters may be able to help educate parents about the law and their options to avoid a similar situation. It may also be possible for an attorney to help negotiate and draft a parenting plan or adoption papers if one parent wishes to give up his or her parental rights.

Source: WSVN, "Father's Fight", Janna Ross, June 12, 2014

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