Rights of Unwed Fathers and the Best Interests of the Child: Can These Competing Interests be Harmonized? Illinois' Putative Father Registry Provides an Answer.

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Journal Name
Loyola University Chicago Law Journal
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Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Swingle, S.
Resource Type
Journal Article
This article reviews the United States Supreme Court decisions that established a liberty interest in the relationship between parents and their children. Next, it examines the background of Supreme Court decisions that established the parameters of the liberty interest which may exist between an unwed father and his child in adoption proceedings. Within this context, the article discusses the structure of the Illinois Adoption Act as it existed at the time the Illinois Supreme Court invalidated Baby Richard's adoption in the Baby Richard case. The article then discusses the facts of the case, followed by a discussion of the public outcry and the initial legislative and judicial response. Next, the article discusses and analyzes the Amended Adoption Act and the Illinois Supreme Court's refusal to apply the amendments to the Baby Richard case. The Amended Adoption Act requires an unwed father who has not established a relationship with his child to register with the State within 30 days of the birth of his child in order to maintain parental rights in the event of a subsequent adoption proceeding. Then, the article recognizes that Illinois' Putative Father Registry successfully balances the competing interests which surround contested adoption proceedings, but also proposes some modifications. The article concludes that the goals of the states must ensure that state adoption laws and procedures are efficient, comprehensive, and specific enough to protect all parties in adoption proceedings. Numerous references.

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