In New York, an unwed man who believes he is the father of a child can ensure that he has certain parental rights by registering with the state's Putative Father Registry. Depending on which form a man completes and files, he can announce his intent to claim paternity or acknowledge paternity.
Fathers who register can then receive notice of any legal proceedings related to the guardianship, foster care, adoption or custody of the child. More information on the registry is available from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. To make sure the correct forms are properly completed, it may be a good idea to speak with a family law attorney.
With these issues in mind, New Yorkers may be interested in a paternity case out of Utah. The biological father of a child has sued the biological mother, claiming that she secretly gave the child up for adoption. The father's paternity claim has been complicated, however, because he didn't sign up with Utah's putative father registry.
The father has already lost one bid for child custody, and his appeal is under review by the state.
The case is made more complex by the fact that the mother is actually married to another man. The father who filed the lawsuit claims that the mother lied and said she was divorced. Under Utah law, however, the woman's estranged husband is presumed to be the father, and the husband apparently approved of the adoption.
The child is now 3 years old, and the father's federal lawsuit seeks $30 million in compensation for the loss of the relationship between the father and child. The lawsuit also seeks $100 million to help protect other fathers from similar legal problems.
New York residents with paternity concerns may want to follow this story as it progresses.
Source: NBC News, "Dad files $130M lawsuit after son in Utah is given up for adoption," Erik Ortiz, Dec. 31, 2013