Father Fights for Parental Rights – Family Law

Family Law Matters

Chris Emanuel found himself in the worst place he could imagine after his daughter Skylar was born and adopted without his knowledge. He had been an engaged and excited father-to-be and very much involved in the birth mother’s pregnancy. After meeting her family, the birth mother pulled away and avoided spending time with Chris when they expressed disapproval of him. Fortunately, he texted her regularly and made every attempt to be there for her while she was pregnant, and expressed his desire to raise their baby after she was born. He made the important decision to register with the South Carolina Responsible Father Registry before his daughter was born.

Chris found out about his daughter’s adoption by an out-of-state family a week after she was born. Since he had registered with the South Carolina Responsible Father Registry, the law required that he be notified of the adoption. Just that week the birth mother had deceived him by sending him a picture of her “baby bump” so he would not know Skylar had already been born and adopted by another family. If he had not registered, he would have been unaware of her adoption and in a legally precarious position to fight to win her back.

In South Carolina over 30,000 babies are born out of wedlock. Last year 300 unwed fathers registered with the state of South Carolina as the father of their newborn to establish parental rights. When Chris went to court in Aiken, South Carolina to claim his parental rights, the extensive documentation of his intentions to raise his child through the text messages with the birth mother, and his steps to register as the father of Skylar with the South Carolina Responsible Registry, put him in a strong position. Ultimately, he was able to win his case and bring Skylar home.

With the help of his family law attorneys, Chris fought a loophole in South Carolina law that allowed his biracial daughter to be adopted out of state. It is difficult to adopt a child out of state in South Carolina, unless the child is over six years old and is physically, emotionally or mentally disabled. The adoptive parents returned Skylar to Chris Emanuel two weeks after the Judge’s decision to give him full parental custody of his child.

If you are eighteen years or older, and the natural father of a child born out of wedlock, you are entitled to register a claim of paternity with the South Carolina Department of Social Services Responsible Father Registry (ssl.sc.gov/FatherRegistry/FatherReg/Regindex.aspx). You may file before or after the birth of your child. You should register before a petition for termination of parental rights has been filed and before an adoption petition has been made. Otherwise your claim may be void.

When a stressful family situation occurs, the law offices of Anderson, Moore, Bailey and Nowell are ready to help. As experienced family law attorneys, we can help you effectively navigate the legal channels to assure the best outcome for your case.

This blog is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for talking to one of our lawyers here at Anderson, Moore Bailey and Nowell. In fact, the first step you can take towards resolving your problem is to have a face to face conversation with one of our lawyers. Our consultations are free, they are confidential, and we can almost always schedule you an appointment the same day we receive a call.