Wednesday, September 8, 2010

John Wyatt's Battle for His Daughter

John Wyatt says this is the thought that keeps him going: One day, he will be with his daughter.
Wyatt knows the daughter he calls Emma, now 18 months old, only through photographs. Since her birth in a Virginia hospital, he has waged a battle in two states to assert his right to have custody of Emma.

The next round will take place Thursday before the Utah Supreme Court, where attorneys will argue adoption law, jurisdiction and, perhaps, whether a child is better off being raised by two parents than a single father.

Wyatt claims Utah’s laws are unfairly aligned against unmarried biological fathers and that a Utah judge ignored legal decisions made in his home state and the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.

“I have the law on my side,” said Wyatt, 22. “These people are blatantly breaking the law. They are just trying to wait us out, hope that we’ll run out of money or give up.”

But about a dozen other biological fathers, most from other states, have failed in similar fights against Utah’s tough paternity requirements. Rulings found that the fathers failed to strictly meet a law requiring them to register their paternity within a certain time frame and to prove in court they could care for the child — regardless of action taken in their home states.

Larry Jenkins, the Salt Lake City adoption attorney who has been involved in at least seven of those cases, also is representing the couple who took custody of Wyatt’s daughter days after her birth.
Jenkins said Wyatt’s claims were filed too late in both Utah and Virginia.

See also:  Utah Adoption: Some call it kidnapping, others racketeering

"...several times each year, a mother who is unable to place her baby for adoption in her home state because the baby's father objects finds her way to Utah where many legal observers' both inside Utah and elsewhere say the laws are tilted against the fathers more than in any other state. "Several times each year," may not sound like that much, but when you listen to the fathers moan about missing their baby they've never met--and their mothers who miss their grandchild that they've never met--it starts to sound all too frequent.....
"The president-elect of the Utah Adoption Council has a novel legal argument of his own in an adoption case poised to cause quite a stir as it matures. His client, Michael Duane Hunter, of Washington state, accuses the mother of his child, the adoption agency and several others of a criminal conspiracy. They conspired, attorney Wes Hutchins argues, "for the sole purpose of getting around laws that otherwise apply to the placement of a Minor Child in Washington ... which would have required defendants to provide Hunter with notice of and an opportunity to object to any attempted placement of the Minor Child for adoption." (page 34). Hutchins cites the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act--a law setup to take down the Mob--as the basis for the complaint. Put another way, he's accusing a Utah adoption agency of being at the center of an organized criminal syndicate. Heavy stuff."

1 comment:

Susie said...

This makes me sick. How can a state, known for it's so-called Christianity, so blatantly tear fathers away from their children?!


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