Thursday, December 30, 2004

Another Outrageous Ruling Against Mothers, This Time in Florida

I don't know if anyone heard of this case this week.

But a Florida court overturned a single unmarried mother's decision to put her child up for adoption...even though the child was 3 years old already and has been living with the adoptive parents for three years now; PLUS the sperm donor was in jail at the time of the child's birth for assaulting the child's mother while she was pregnant (probably trying to kill her to avoid paying child support)...

This is SUCH an assault on the basic rights of a mother to make a decision in her child's best interest...

When will this crap end...

Now, of course, the courts gave him Joint Custody with the child's mother, (God only knows where that will end)...this convict having Joint Custody of a three year old whose mother he was in jail for assaulting WHILE SHE WAS PREGNANT NO LESS...THIS CARING FATHER...HE COULD HAVE CAUSED HER TO SPONTANEOUSLY ABORT BY ASSAULTING HER...

YET now he has rights...

How convenient now, he can parade around playing father of the year...He's probably paying no child support, yet has the right to parade around like he's a real father.

What do you want to bet that he's dumping this kid off with someone on his Joint Custody time...

This is one of the most outrageous rulings I've heard of in a long time...

Not just a direct assault on the rights of a child, but a direct assault on every women's right to make decisions as she sees fit for her children as a sperm donor should have NO rights to a child whatsoever, NONE...

Florida, btw, is the state that was court ordering women to advertise for the one-night stand sperm donors of their children in newspapers, BEFORE they would approve adoptions...

It's outrageous...

But keeping in mind that women are the electoral majority in the US, this nonsense will end as soon as enough women want it to...

It's that simple ladies, as soon as we want it to...


EVAN S. Florida Contested Adoption

Challenging Florida Law

Evan was born in May 2001 to unmarried biological parents.

Evan's biological mother was 21-years-old and his biological father was 33-years-old at the time of his birth.

Evan's biological father was charged and convicted of assault against the biological mother during the early weeks of her pregnancy.

H served jail time, was put on two years probation, ordered to attend anger management and counseling for domestic violence offenders, and ordered hospitalization as a result of the assault. Evan's biological mother moved to Florida from Maine to be with her family for the duration of her pregnancy...

Evan's biological mother decided to make a private adoption plan during the last months of her pregnancy, and chose family friends, Dawn and Gene S., to adopt her child. During this time, a search was made for the biological father, and certified legal notice was given to him, naming him as father and informing him of the biological mother's intent to place the baby for adoption with the S's after his birth.

After several unsuccessful attempts to get the biological father to communicate regarding his consent for the adoption, or whether or not he intended to claim paternity, the S's proceeded with the adoption process with the knowledge that his consent would not be required if he did not come forward and fulfill at least one of the consent requirements under Florida law; mainly registering his paternity interest with the Office of Vital Statistics.

This was not done.

Evan was born May 5, 2001 and was placed with the S's on May 7, 2001. The adoption petition was filed with the court on May 9, 2001. The basis for the petition was that the biological mother consented to the adoption and the biological father's consent was not required because he had not established his paternity through a court proceeding and he had not acknowledged that he was the father, had not filed acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics and had not provided support to the mother or the child. A finalization for the adoption hearing was set for August 22, 2001.

On June 26, 2001, the S's were notified by their attorney that the biological paternal grandfather, who is an attorney, was requesting DNA testing. After the realization that the biological father himself had not petitioned for the DNA testing, the S's did not go forward with the DNA testing because there was no order by the court. No DNA testing was ever ordered or completed.

The biological father stated in deposition that he came to the conclusion that he was Evan's biological father in April 2001, a month before Evan was born, and after he received notice of the adoption. Even with this knowledge, he still failed to take the necessary steps to insure his parental rights were protected and to keep his son from being placed in an adoption. The S's made diligent efforts to insure that the biological father had an opportunity to make his wishes known before the petition for adoption was ever filed.

When Evan's biological paternal grandfather received the information that the S's would not voluntarily submit Evan to a DNA test without order of the court, Evan's biological father filed an Answer and Objection to the adoption, and on July 18, 2001, he filed a motion to the court demanding immediate custody of Evan. The S's attorney filed a counter suit, motioning the court that the biological father did not complete any of the Florida statute requirements to be entitled to consent to the adoption, one of which was to file an acknowledgement of paternity with the Office of Vital Statistics.

The finalization of adoption hearing, scheduled for August 22, 2001, was changed to a consent hearing in light of the filings made by the biological father, and at that time, the biological father had still not completed any of the legal requirements to be afforded a right to consent. There was not an immediate ruling made on the consent issue, and the biological father's attorney filed another motion in the meantime to re-open testimony to include new evidence.

The "new" evidence submitted was that the biological father had now filed his name and claimed paternity with the Office of Vital Statistics and then furnished a document to the court. After the hearing was granted and this document was allowed as evidence, the judge made his ruling that the biological father's consent was required for the adoption.

The ruling occurred 33 days after the consent hearing date, whereby none of the consent requirements had been; met at the time.

Evan was nearly 5-months-old before the judge erroneously allowed the biological father to fulfill just this one requirement under Florida law -- registering his paternity with the Office of Vital Statistics -- and allow him to claim himself as Evan's biological father, thereby invoking consent requirement to Evan's adoption that did not previously exist.

The S's attorney then filed a motion to the trial court that the biological father had abandoned the baby by not claiming paternity, not coming forward, and not providing for the biological mother or the child after he was made aware that he was the father through certified notice.

The judge subsequently ruled that it was not abandonment.

New evidence came to light in the form of two separate affidavits that claimed the biological father knew about the pregnancy months before he was served notice and a motion was filed by the S's to re-open testimony, as it would have drastically changed the outcome of the "no abandonment ruling."

It was denied.

The biological father then filed a second motion for immediate custody of Evan and a custody hearing was held in February 2002 and custody was awarded to the S's pending an appeal of the trial court decision, citing it was in Evan's best interest to remain in his bonded home.

A third motion was filed by the biological father to remove custody from the S's and it was denied on the basis of there being no new evidence to support a re-hearing.

A visitation hearing was held in September 2002, and the trial court awarded the biological father one 24-hour overnight visit per month to be supervised at all times by his parents. The first overnight visit was held December 2002. Evan was 19-months-old and had only had three previous visits with this family, and had met the biological father only one time prior to February 2002.

Oral argument was heard by the Florida Court of Appeals on February 26, 2003.

Evan's case challenges the stability of the Florida Putative Father Registry and Florida adoption law, specifically the consent statute, as well as jeopardizes Evan's life-long bond with the S's.

The issues on appeal by the S's were as follows:

The trial court erred in incorrectly applying Florida statutes to determine the biological father's consent was required by finding that the S's had not exercised due diligence in their attempt to obtain biological father's consent, and that the biological mother did not inform the biological father of the pregnancy until 37 days before the birth.

a. The S's did exercise due diligence by sending the biological father a certified letter 37 days before the birth informing him that he had been named as father and that the biological mother intended to place the child for adoption, and when that got no response, they contacted his probation officer several times through their counsel in an effort to get him to respond one way or the other.

The biological mother's failure to inform him earlier than 37 days before the birth did not prevent him from complying with the Florida paternity statute (63.062) affording him consent.

The S's argue that the trial court erred in their interpretation of the Florida consent statute (63.062) by allowing the biological father to comply with the statute by granting a motion to enter "newly discovered evidence" after the consent hearing (this evidence was a copy of the document showing the biological father registered with the Office of Vital Statistics nearly 5 months after Evan was born and 33 days after the consent hearing) months after the petition for adoption was filed.

In actuality this was the new evidence that was allowed after the fact.

The judge essentially "made up" a time limit for the biological father to assert his paternity rights by allowing him this extra time to comply by getting this paper signed. This in effect, sets the stage for any biological father to motion the court to allow him to assert his rights whenever he chooses at some indeterminate time in the future, and for it to be allowed by the trial court…it could have a devastating effect on every adoption where a biological father has not asserted paternity rights, nor come forward to claim or deny the child being placed for adoption.

The biological father's substantive and due process rights were protected and not violated.

The trial court erred in denying the S's motion to present new evidence (2 affidavits) that would show that the biological father knew about the pregnancy months before he was served notice, a fact that should drastically change the outcome of the trial court ruling had it been made known.

The Florida Court of Appeals has upheld the trial court’s ruling that Evan’s biological father’s consent was needed.

Hear My Voice views Evan's case as a challenge to putative father registries across the nation in setting this horrible precedent.

The Florida Court has required an agreement involving Evan's biological mother and father, who live in two different states. The Florida Court has ruled that Evan's custody will be divided between both his biological mother and father with no legally protected contact between Evan and his adoptive parents, Dawn and Gene Scott, the only parents he has ever known.

Evan has been denied due process by the court and no hearing has ever been held to address his best interest. The details of Evan's transfer from his life-long family are pending.

Ironically, on the same day that the agreement was presented, Florida's Governor, Jeb Bush, signed a bill establishing a paternity registry where men who believe they have fathered a child can enroll in order to be contacted if the child is offered for adoption.

This law will not affect the Court's decision to remove Evan from his family.



zippy_loopy_squirt said...

I am a friend of dawns, and she is devastated by the loss of evan, not for herself but for evan, a little soul who must be so so so bewildered as to where his mammy and daddy have gone....there have been a lot of very nasty and down right wrong things said about dawn and I for one give her all my support....I am a mother who lost a child to adoption in ireland and was in a magdalene mother and baby hell hole in ireland....the loss of my son affected me mentally ...I am lucky that I have been reunited with my son for the past 4 years.....I have great respect for all members of the adoption triad and its all eggshell stuff....but dawn does not deserve the vitrol that she has recieved......I hope evan is well and happy but I doubht it sadly ....


NYMOM said...

I said nothing bad about the adoptive mother. Actually I wish that her and her husband could have kept Evan. Unfortunately this is a result of mens and fathers rights advocates coming to power in this country and influencing our courts and legislative process to favor them...


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