Utah man fails to file affidavit, loses paternity rights

A Utah father seeking to establish paternity rights was unsuccessful in his efforts due to failure to file a child-support affidavit. He indicated that his initial attorney did not inform him of the legal requirement to file the paperwork. The man also reportedly failed to disclose his plans for providing care for the child.

While unwed, a woman became pregnant with the man's child and later gave birth to the boy on Mar. 26, 2001. The father petitioned for the establishment of paternity and related child custody rights two weeks prior to the birth. A week later, he filed notice of his paternity proceedings in the state's putative-father registry. The man indicated that he offered to cover medical costs but was informed by the mother that they would be handled by her insurance. He was reportedly permitted two visits at the hospital prior to the child being given up to an adoptive couple.

The couple informed the man of his forfeiture of parental rights because of the lack of an affidavit. The man later filed the affidavit, attempting to have the adoption terminated due to his lack of consent to the adoption. However, the court rejected his claims, and the state's Supreme Court dismissed the appeal with a 3-2 decision due to the clarity of the requirement for the affidavit.

A prospective adoptive couple in a similar situation might be concerned with issues such as late attempts to derail an adoption by a biological parent. Effective legal counsel in such a situation might be important for confronting the claims and working to ensure that documentation is filed in a timely manner.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Late Paperwork Forfeits Paternity Rights in Utah", Lorraine Bailey, November 07, 2014

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