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Overturn of adoption leads to custody dispute

Adoptions are important legal processes that can ensure that a child grows up in a caring, stable environment. However, in some rare circumstances, an adoption can end up being overturned. When this happens, it can be painful and complicated for all parties involved in the dispute. Louisiana readers might be interested to hear about such a case that is currently ongoing in Tennessee.

A Tennessee couple adopted a girl when she was three years old. Despite the girl spending six years with the couple, she has now been ordered by an appeals court to return to her biological father in Nebraska. The father has stated that his parenting rights were terminated illegally while he was serving a prison sentence. The foster parents stated that they simply did what they were told during the adoption process. The couple also states that they were only notified two hours before the child was removed from their custody.

The situation began in 2004 when the girl's mother gave up parenting rights in Nebraska, leaving the child's father with custody. The following year, the father hired another woman to care for the child because of his "busy work schedule." The woman then got the father's permission to take the child to Tennessee to visit her family. The child ended up spending a significant amount of time with the woman's parents. When the father went to Tennessee to get the girl, the woman's parents expressed concern that he had a history of violence.

The man was later arrested for possession of firearms.The girl ended up spending the majority of her time in Tennessee with her future foster parents, who were acquaintances of the couple with whom she had been staying. A court later terminated the father's parenting rights and granted an adoption to the couple after they petitioned for custody. In 2009, the father successfully appealed the decision, stating that he had not given up his rights voluntarily.

The foster parents indicate that the situation is far from over. Most laws will favor birth parents over foster parents if neglect cannot be proven. Regardless of whether a person is a foster parent or a biological parent, anybody in Louisiana who feels they've lost custody of a child unfairly should consider getting legal help as soon as possible.

Source: The Tennessean, "Dickson couple loses custody of girl after apparent adoption overturned" Colleen Creamer, Feb. 07, 2014

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