Many fathers in Montgomery, Tennessee, struggle to establish paternity and gain primary custody of their child. In many cases, child custody is primarily awarded to the mother, keeping in sync with the "tender years doctrine" that states it is in the child's interest to be with the mother. However, fathers' rights have also evolved, and nowadays, courts decide parental custody based on the best interests of the child.
In a recent ongoing court case, a father is fighting for sole custody of his 6-year-old daughter. He had filed a paternity petition several months before his daughter's birth, however, he alleges that his former girlfriend gave birth prematurely and signed a document allowing for her brother and sister-in-law to adopt the girl without his consent. He became aware of the adoption several days later.
The father intervened in the proceedings and the Utah Supreme Court ruled that he had been denied a say in his daughter's adoption. Still, the child has remained in custody of her prospective adoptive parents since her birth. However, since 2012, the father and the prospective adoptive parents have been embroiled in a custody battle over the girl. The father is seeking sole custody while her adoptive guardians have proposed a shared custody.
Over the years, the plaintiff has gradually been introduced to the girl and now sees her during weekend trips. In September, the girl visited her father for an extended stay in another state, where he now lives.
Tennessee recognizes the rights of unmarried fathers and the importance they play in a child's upbringing. Fathers faced with this kind of situation may seek guidance from experienced professionals. This may allow them to enjoy the pleasures of fatherhood and help ensure that their child has a happyand secure future.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Father fighting for custody of daughter being raised by Utah couple," Brooke Adams, Dec. 10, 2013