Koiles Pratt Family Law Group
Get Advice From A Lawyer 978-744-7774
Menu Contact

What are an unmarried father's rights in adoption proceedings?

The choice of giving a child up for adoption in Salem County is a complicated and emotional one. Even in the best of circumstances when both parents arrive at this difficult decision together, it is not to be taken lightly. However, there are circumstances where unmarried parents may not agree on this choice. In that event, it is imperative to take a look at what rights the child's father may have as opposed to the rights of the mother.

In a recent custody battle, a three-year-old girl of Cherokee origin is the center of a serious legal dilemma. In this custody dispute, the girl was given up for adoption by her birth mother without the unmarried father's consent. The issue at stake is whether a non-custodial father can obtain parental custody from the adoptive parents. This case is particularly controversial since the father is Native American and the non-Indian mother willing gave up custody outside of the tribe, therefore avoiding tribal laws. Additionally, the child was placed in a non-Indian home. Another challenge in this particular matter is whether the adoption violates legislation designed to protect the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.

However, any custody case with like circumstances could have similar implications and legal questions. A case brought about in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would raise the same questions as to an unmarried father's rights. Cases of this nature explore the parents' circumstances and the status of the relationship when the child was conceived. When the relationship is terminated, it is important for the court to decide where the father's rights end, or if they end at all. Naturally, the adoptive parents in these matters are also seeking legal counsel to protect their rights and retain custody of the child. Sadly, many components of such a dispute turn into a "he said", "she said" type of battle.

The case above is now slated to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, those facing similar custody issues in Massachusetts will want to know their own rights. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help people understand the law and seek the appropriate remedy.

Source: CNN, "High court to tackle Native American adoption dispute," Bill Mears, Jan. 5, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Reach Out To A Lawyer

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

email us for a response


Office Location:

Koiles Pratt Family Law Group
70 Washington Street, Suite 402
Salem, MA 01970

Phone: 978-744-7774
Salem Law Office Map

office map