The Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday that a Colorado father was improperly denied a say in his infant daughter’s adoption and sent the case back to a lower court for a rehearing.
In a split decision that establishes a new ground rule for future cases, the justices said Robert Manzanares’ consent to any adoption was necessary. The majority held Manzanares did not know and reasonably could not have known that a birth and adoption would take place in Utah, entitling him by law to more time to intervene in the proceedings.Although Manzanares stated in a paternity petition filed in a Colorado court months before his daughter’s birth that he feared his girlfriend might flee to Utah, those were "yellow flags" and not the same thing as having knowledge of such a plan, the majority said.
Manzanares reasonably relied on Carie Terry’s denials, stated in Colorado court filings, of any intention to come to Utah to give birth and place their baby for adoption.* * *The Utah Supreme Court instructed the district court to hold a hearing to determine whether Manzanares fully complied with Colorado’s requirements for establishing parental rights to his daughter, referred to in court documents as Baby B., and whether he had demonstrated a full commitment to his parental responsibilities.Manzanares was nearly speechless after learning of the court’s decision.
"It is still an uphill battle but as I’ve said from day one, I won’t stop climbing that mountain until I have [my daughter] in my life," he said. "I’ve missed so much of her life. It is incredible to know that I could be with her soon."
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