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Father who gave up parental rights loses custody of child

Father who gave up parental rights loses custody of child

Family relationships can be complicated, and perhaps none more so than the legal relationship between a father and his child when the biological parents are not married.  In many cases, a father may have to establish his paternity of a child in order to preserve his parental rights. Before signing any agreement regarding visitation, custody or parental rights, it is important for Illinois parents to understand all of the legal implications.

The case of a father in another state who lost custody of his biological daughter has recently been in the national news. Before the child's birth, the biological father had signed away his parental rights, and the birth mother decided to place the child with another couple for adoption. Before the adoption was finalized, however, the biological father returned to claim the child and raised her for the next 18 months while a court battle ensued between the father and the adoptive parents over custody of the girl. The child's fate was decided when a state Supreme Court ordered the finalization of the adoption and the return of the child to her adoptive parents.

When resolving child custody issues, it is important for the child's best interests to be considered.  Fathers who desire to have visitation, parenting time and other parental rights may need to establish paternity through a DNA test before the court will recognize any parental rights. In addition to custody and visitation, a support order may be established. 

A biological father seeking to establish his parental rights may decide to seek legal representation.  An attorney experienced in family law can advise the biological father of the necessary steps to establishing paternity and help protect his rights throughout the legal process. 

Source: Washington Post, "South Carolina court orders Baby Veronica returned to adoptive parents,"Robert Barnes, July 17, 2013


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