Considering a father’s rights when adopting domestically

While Angelina Jolie may have brought the world’s attention to the overwhelming need for international adoptions, there are still families here in the United States who realize that there are children here who need homes just as badly. But while domestic adoption is considered to be less volatile because it doesn’t rely on foreign government communications, differing laws between states can sometimes be just as cumbersome in the end.

Illinois residents considering adoption should also take into consideration a fathers’ rights in the matter. This can especially be difficult in circumstances where the mother is a teenager or perhaps is in an abusive relationship and cannot care for the child. Depending on the state, and the amount of time between when the mother relinquishes her rights and the adoption papers are signed, there may be a period of time when the father can request child custody.

Such was the case for one couple who explained their story in a recent article in The Atlantic. During one of their experiences with domestic adoption they came across just such a scenario. The mother, who was in an abusive relationship at the time, was not sure whether the father was: her Caucasian boyfriend or a Hispanic man with whom she had a brief affair. When the child was born, it quickly became apparent that the father was the Hispanic man which created its own set of problems.

It turns out that the birthfather had been supporting the mother and his unborn child during the pregnancy; and although much of the adoption paperwork had already been signed, the couple’s claim to the child was overridden by the father’s request for child custody.

Although cases like this may seem rare, the chances of them happening are very likely. That’s why it’s important to take all of these legal challenges into consideration. While you may not be able to solve them on your own, having help from a skilled attorney might be the leverage you need in order to solve these situations quickly and without difficulty.

Source: The Atlantic, “The Dark, Sad Side of Domestic Adoption,” Jennifer Gilmore, April 30, 2013

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