Utah Supreme Court Recognizes Unmarried Fathers’ Rights

Unmarried Utah Mother gets pregnant by Father.

When Son is born, Father’s name is listed on birth certificate as Father.

But Father is in jail when Son is born, so Father doesn’t sign birth certificate.

So Father’s name is removed from Son’s birth certificate.

After about six months in Mother’s care, Son is taken into protective custody by child welfare agency.

Son eventually is placed with a foster family, with whom Son has remained for a couple of years.

Child welfare agency takes steps to terminate Mother’s parental rights.

Father files motion to intervene in that case.

Father fails to undergo a DNA test to prove that he is Son’s biological father before the scheduled trial over termination of Mother’s parental rights.

Then Mother agrees to give up her parental rights to Son.

Son is freed up for adoption under Utah law.

And Utah court concludes that Father lacks legal standing to assert parental rights to Son any longer.

Father maintains that no one ever advised him of the importance of signing Son’s birth certificate or proving his biological relationship to Son via DNA testing shortly after Son’s birth.

Father appeals trial court’s dismissal of his motion to intervene in the case against Mother over custody of Son.

Breaking new legal ground in Utah, the appellate court reverses, and grants Father a hearing to prove that he is Son’s biological father.

All Father wants is the right to obtain pictures of Son and e-mails about his development, which Son’s foster parents were apparently unwilling to agree to.

Read more in this [Salt Lake City] Deseret News article: Ruling offers new hope to unwed dads in Utah.