CO Father Still Fighting for his Daughter Six Years after UT Adoption

by Norris Law Group on March 6, 2014

25181919_sOn February 21, the Salt Lake City Tribune updated the story of Robert Manzanares, a CO father who is still fighting to regain custody of this daughter six years after his daughter was placed for adoption in Utah without his consent—or even his knowledge. This article expounds on the story of  12 fathers, including Manzanares, who have brought suit against the State of Utah in multiple adoption cases, as reported in the January 31 edition of this blog.

Manzanares filed suit in Utah’s federal district court on February 18 alleging his former girlfriend, the adoptive parents and the attorneys who represented them colluded to deprive him of his parental rights and in effect kidnapped his daughter. With the help of attorney Wes Hutchins of Salt Lake City, he is seeking at least $120 million in damages. Manzanares alleges in his suit that his daughter was taken in a “clear-cut case of an illegal fraud-ridden infant adoption.”

In a related matter, the Utah Supreme Court essentially agreed with Manzanares in January 2012, when it overturned a lower court judge’s decision barring him from intervening to stop the adoption. The adoption proceeding was dismissed in Utah and the case resumed in Colorado, where Manzanares had filed a paternity petition in January 2008, one month before his daughter’s premature birth on February 17 of that year. At that time, Manzanares was not notified of his daughter’s birth.

The child’s mother, Carie Morelock traveled to Utah before the birth, saying that she was going to visit a sick relative. She gave birth, and then contacted the Colorado court Feb. 20, 2008, three days after giving birth, and said she would not be at a hearing scheduled for that morning because she was out of town.That same day, Morelock appeared before former 3rd District Judge Robert Hilder and relinquished her parental rights to the her brother and sister-in-law Scott and Julissa Byington.

Morelock, however, has denied in court papers filed in response to Manzanares’ paternity petition that she had any intention of giving birth in and pursuing an adoption in Utah, nor did she disclose to either the Utah or Colorado courts that legal proceedings were underway in the two states.

Manzanares is awaiting a decision from a Colorado judge, who is weighing Manzanares’ request for full custody of the child.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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