A Father’s Persistence in Seeking His Right to Child Custody

This case is an example of a father who never relented in seeking child custody from his first learning about pregnancy all the way through appeal.

In the Matter of B.B.M, a child, Appellant, Shawn McDonald persisted in establishing his paternity, and after battling for four years, finally obtained the right to a new trial to determine custody of his son.

He had cohabited with the son’s mother, Samantha, and in 2002 she conceived and gave birth to a girl. However, the relationship didn’t last and some years later, several months after breaking up and moving in with a new boyfriend, Samantha learned she was pregnant. She decided to give the child up for adoption and began making adoption plans. She admitted to the adoption agent that Shawn was the father and he didn’t know about her pregnancy. When Shaw found out about the pregnancy, he made his wishes strongly known that he would not relinquish his parental rights for the child’s adoption. He wanted custody of the child. Despite his wishes, Samantha continued to pursue adoption and the child was placed with a couple in Idaho.

When Samantha gave birth to her son on July, 2 2005, she requested the child be designated as a “no information” patient, which prevented the hospital from releasing any information about Samantha or the baby to Shawn. The adoptive parents were present at the hospital for the birth and took the baby home with them to Idaho.

Shawn filed his notice of intent to claim paternity of the baby on July 28, 2005. The adoption agent delayed in sending a written request to the registry about potential paternity until September, 2005.  During the first months after the child’s birth, Shawn had also consulted with several lawyers, written a letter to the governor’s office and contacted the FBI and a father’s rights group regarding his right to the child.

When the adoption agency filed a suit to terminate parental rights, Shawn counter sued, and a paternity test was done, which confirmed Shawn was the boy’s father.

In January 2007, a jury returned a verdict refusing to terminate Shawn’s paternal rights but awarding managing conservatorship to the adoptive parents. Shawn appealed the verdict.

The appellate court found there was insufficient evidence to show that awarding managing conservatorship to Shawn would result in significant physical or emotional harm to the child. The court reversed the trial court’s order in part and ordered that lower court conduct a new trial to determine the matter of managing conservatorship.

If you have questions about fathers’ rights, our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates can answer your questions and explain how we can help.

 

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