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Father wins custody of daughter from afar

Thursday, June 29, 2017

An interesting case has thrown the topic of fathers' rights into the spotlight and may interest parents in El Paso who are experiencing child support or child custody issues. A man whose parental rights were once terminated has gained full custody of a daughter he has never actually met.

The man, who is not a U.S. citizen, had been in the country illegally and gotten married in 2007. A year later, he was ordered by a court to return to his country of origin -- Mexico -- and when he went, his new wife went along with him. However, when she became pregnant, she moved back to the United States to have her daughter.

The father tried to illegally re-enter the United States to be with his family, but he was caught by authorities and sent back to Mexico. Soon after, the baby girl was taken out of the home and placed in protective custody, and the mother was accused of abuse and neglect. Through a trial hearing on the matter, the state ruled that the mother was not able to adequately care for the girl.

Even though he was legally banned from entering the United States, the father kept tabs on his daughter. He contacted the Department of Health and Welfare asking that she be allowed to move to his country.

Interestingly enough, in 2010, after severing the parental rights of the mother, the Department of Health and Welfare also tried to terminate the father's parental rights, claiming that the man had abandoned his daughter. After that, the little girl was sent to live with a woman -- a foster parent -- who was actually an employee of the agency and wanted to adopt the little girl. When the father attempted to fight the department, a lower court sided with the state, claiming the man had never supported his daughter financially.

Eventually, this ruling was overturned by the Idaho Supreme Court, and the biological father will have custody of his daughter in Mexico. The court in this case questioned the Department of Health and Welfare's motives, especially since an employee wished to adopt the child. The court wondered whether the move to terminate the father's rights had to do with the potential adoption. It appears the father took the time to study his own rights as a father, helping him prevail in a case that may be an inspiration to Texas parents who are caught in a similar situation.

Source: Idaho Statesman, "Court: Idaho girl should live with dad in Mexico," Jessie L. Bonner, April 27, 2012

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