Many Tennessee residents probably remember a time when courts routinely treated men unfairly when it came to some family matters. The practice stemmed from the general legal establishment’s belief in the tender years’ doctrine that believed the best interests of a child were better served the mother. However, that is no longer the case and fathers’ rights have evolved and gained acceptance in courts in Tennessee and the rest of the United States.
As one sign of changing times, a few months back a 26-year-old father from another state was awarded primary custody of his three-year-old son following a long child-custody dispute with his former girlfriend and the couple that had adopted his child.
The dispute started in 2010 when the father received a call from an adoption agency when his girlfriend was pregnant asking him to forfeit his parental rights. The father said he not only was the biological father but also wanted custody of the child. Soon after the boy’s birth, the girlfriend stopped responding to the phone calls from the father and members of his family. He could not find any information about his son from the hospital where the boy was born.
During one visit to his ex-girlfriend’s house, he met a neighbor who told him the child had been adopted. Delving deeper, he found the child was in living with adoptive parents in Florida. He immediately engaged a lawyer. A judge, acting on the grounds that a willing biological parent cannot be denied parental rights, granted custody to the biological parents.
Both biological parents held joint custody of the boy until December 2012, when a judge awarded the father sole custody of the child. Thanks to his persistence, he won custody of his son and in the process ensured that fathers’ rights are not violated.
Source: Opposing Views, “Biological Father Granted Custody Of Son After Three Year Legal Battle,” Jonathan Wolfe, March 31, 2014