Group of fathers file class action lawsuit, claim Utah adoption laws are unjust

SALT LAKE CITY – Two former Utah Attorneys General are named in a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of biological fathers who said their children were taken from them via adoption without their consent.

The class action lawsuit alleges Utah’s adoption laws make it “nearly impossible” for biological fathers to gain custody of their children before the child’s mother gives the child up for adoption.

Rob Manzaneres said he was living in Colorado with his pregnant girlfriend when she traveled to Utah to visit a sick family member. He said his girlfriend gave birth to their daughter prematurely while in Utah, and when she came back the woman had allegedly given the child up for adoption without Manzanares’ consent.

Manzaneres said he had already filed a paternity action in Colorado months before his daughter was born, but he said he had to come to Utah to fight for paternity.

“I want this to stop, I mean, what I’ve gone through, no other father should go through, and more importantly, no other child,” He told FOX 13 News over the phone. “We’re at a point now where, in my case, my daughter knows who I am, she knows I’m her real dad, she knows I want custody of her, but she’s only known one family that’s raised her in Utah. This is devastating to her.”

Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told FOX 13 News he had not yet been served with the lawsuit, but he said he doesn’t believe the fathers are pursuing the correct legal route. He said they would be better served by focusing their efforts on the getting the legislature to change the laws as opposed to going after the Attorney General, who enforces the laws.

“If there is an issue these biological fathers want to resolve, they have a disagreement with Utah laws, then they ought to take that to the Utah legislature, certainly not by filing a frivolous lawsuit, in particular naming the wrong defendants—which is what they apparently have done, again, making clear that I have not yet seen the complaint,” he told FOX 13 News over the phone.

9 comments

  • Eric Anderson

    Utah is unique in the nation for giving fathers no say at all in the process. A woman can adopt out her kids whenever she chooses. Recently, a deployed serviceman returned from Afghanistan to see his newborn child only to discover that his wife had traveled to Utah, given the infant away, and filed for divorce. It took the dad a couple of years of legal fighting to get his own child from the Utah couple that stole the kid.

    When I adopted I went overseas. I deliberately picked a country (Russia) that goes to great lengths to identify family members and make sure that NONE of them are wiling to take the kids. Then, once the adoption is final, all previous records are destroyed. It’s a done deal. Irrevocable. It did not trust Utah’s government to be involved.

    Do it RIGHT. Do it ONCE. And yes, Utah, dads count. We have rights. I know that may come as a shock.

    • Mr. Bill

      Eric, the problem is in the definition of “reasonable”. Utah seems to think that putting some papers on the Internet (but not easily searchable), and forcing biological fathers to jump through multiple loopholes, fits this definition.

      Honestly a national registry, that notifies each state and meets the legal definition of identification and allows for the state to initiate contact, would make a more elegant solution, but I don’t expect either Utah or the Feds to make this a reality. The additional benefit would be that if for some reason dad decided to skip the process, he could later be counted on for child support.

  • Niky

    As a mother I cannot even imagine the pain I’d feel if my child was put up for adoption before I even got the chance to claim him/her. If the dad wants the child and the mother does not I don’t understand why any mother would not just give them to the father? My daughters dad would be the FIRST person I’d give her to if I didn’t want her. Some woman shouldn’t be allowed to have kids! Makes me sick! They should be grateful the father actually wants to step up and do his job. A lot of men don’t even try.

  • John

    I want IN! Just found my beautiful daughter who is Nineteen now. I lost her in a custody case against LDS Social Services. In which they totally lied to me and totally lied in court, and totally got away with it! My book is next LDS Social Services! Your days are numbered!

  • Jennifer Snow

    it’s a lot about the money in Utah, hear the babies are going for fifteen thousand a pop now – Kaching Kaching! very materialistic – back when they stole my grandchild it was only about 5 thousand. us being so poor at the time was definitely to their advantage, knew we couldn’t stop it with all their threats and intimidations
    – they had my son in tears and broke his heart, but the mother’s father being a bishop got it all arranged – what a phoney church!

  • Jo Anna Hoffmann

    Let’s be REAL CLEAR about what’s really going on > An adoption industry and prospective adoptive couples who are enabling women to put their children up for adoption WITHOUT the father’s knowledge or consent, simply because they can’t stand the thought of the father raising their child. They don’t want to raise their own child, but they don’t want the father to. You see, if they did the RIGHT thing, they’d be on the hook for child support, just as it is for fathers. This is vindictive, callous, cruel behavior to deny a child the right to be raised by the parent who WANTS them. Adoptive couples are being selfish and needy when they blind themselves to the reality of what’s going on. This sanctification of birth mothers who isolate and exclude the child’s father is inexcusable. There’s no other way to describe this enabling as child trafficking and legalized kidnapping. It’s shameful and despicable.

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