Intercountry Adoption and the Flight From Unwed Fathers' Rights: Whose Right Is It Anyway?

Journal Name
South Carolina Law Review
Journal Volume
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Maravel, A.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
This article examines legal issues involving intercountry adoption and the rights of birth fathers. An overview is provided, suggesting that an increasing number of intercountry adoptions are taking place to avoid delays and uncertainty because of the state of U.S. law on paternal rights of unwed fathers. Circumvention of U.S. law is examined, to the extent that the U.S. is committed to the protection of paternal rights over alternative legal choices, such as speedy adoption regardless of parental consent, and the measures that exist in international law to prevent effective nullification of those rights through intercountry adoption. Problems that surface in both domestic and intercountry adoptions when an unwed father contests an adoption are examined, focusing on the harm to the child posed by protracted litigation. The extent to which international law can shed light on whether the U.S. should commit to protection of paternal rights over alternative legal choices is addressed. The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which as of this writing had not been adopted by the U.S., is promoted as a step toward eliminating the problem, by foreclosing the incentives for intercountry flight. Conclusions support the belief that international laws should protect the child's right to be raised by a biological parent who is willing, able, and fit to assume parental responsibility from the moment of birth. Three hundred and thirty-eight references.

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