Fathers’ rights child custody case drawing national attention

It is a fathers’ rights case regarding child custody and visitation that, as one media article notes, “fathers around the nation are watching.”

It is also a story about an unmarried father who asserted his rights immediately after his daughter was born four and a half years ago and hasn’t stopped trying to be a central figure in her life since.

Rob Manzanares never married the woman with whom he had the child, but he signed up with a state registry to assert his custodial rights after her birth, a legal requirement for unmarried fathers in Colorado.

The mother subsequently took the child to neighboring Utah, where the baby was adopted by the woman’s brother. Manzanares objected, but lost his custody rights under the laws of that state, which many experts say typically favors birth mothers heavily in family law matters.

“The courts there should never have approved the custody change,” he stated recently.

The Utah Supreme Court agreed with that view earlier this year, when it overturned the adoption. That put the custody case squarely back in a Colorado court, which ruled late last month that both birth parents will have visitation rights going forward, with the judge noting that he wants the child “to be given every opportunity to know her parents without putting any undue pressure on her.”

A trial will be held on the matter in May.

“For all the dads fighting for custody,” says Manzanares, “this ruling will go a long way in rewriting laws both in Utah and other states as it relates to what a dad’s rights are, when a mother violates one state’s laws to get a child adopted in [another.]”

Source: Fox News, “Unmarried father wins visitation rights in custody battle,” Jon Bowman, April 27, 2012

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