Ohio Supreme Court Stops Adoption, Upholds Father’s Rights

July 31, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

In an opinion that does a bit to support single fathers’ rights in adoption cases, the Ohio Supreme Court has stopped an adoption and effectively handed the child over to his father. The case, In re Adoption of P.L.H., is not a sweeping victory, but it’s a victory. Its holding is that, in order to demonstrate that a single father “abandoned” the mother of his child during her pregnancy, thereby rendering his consent to the adoption unnecessary, it’s necessary to show that his actions were “willful” and that the abandonment was permanent. That bar is a pretty high one for anyone promoting an adoption based on paternal abandonment to clear.

The father, C.W. and mother, S.C. were students at the same university in Ohio. He graduated and took a job in Louisiana. While still a student, she visited him during Mardi Gras and became pregnant by him. When she discovered her pregnancy, she told him that she intended to place the child for adoption. C.W. was ambivalent about the adoption. Early on, he told S.C. that he wasn’t certain what he wanted to do.

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