Florida Father Battles for Custody After Allegedly Being Told Daughter Died and Was Placed for Adoption

 Florida Father Battles for Custody After Allegedly Being Told Daughter Died and Was Placed for Adoption

(ABC Action News)

In Florida, a father named Brandon Marteliz is embroiled in a complex legal battle for custody of his daughter, Amiya, after she was unexpectedly put up for adoption. Marteliz claims he was misled by the child’s mother into believing that Amiya had died shortly after her birth in January 2022.

Speaking to WFTS, Marteliz recounted being informed by the mother that their daughter had succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome soon after birth. He had even taken a photo with the mother, placing his hand on her pregnant belly, just two days before Amiya was due.

However, Marteliz faced a shocking revelation when, a day after the birth, the mother consented to the adoption of Amiya, as reported by ABC Action News. Despite this, she texted Marteliz claiming their daughter had died at birth. Three weeks later, she sent another text to Marteliz stating that she had the baby.

Marteliz, who had prepared for his daughter’s arrival with toys, clothes, and a bedroom, expressed his eagerness to take care of Amiya. But his situation took another turn when a Child Protective Services agent informed him that Amiya was alive and in the care of an adoption agency. The agency denied Marteliz custody, citing his alleged failure to provide sufficient support during the pregnancy and birth, told the New York Post.

The case is complicated by Florida’s legal system, which didn’t require the mother or the adoption agency to seek termination of Marteliz’s parental rights since the parents were never married, and he wasn’t named on the birth certificate or listed on the putative father registry.

This registry, present in 22 states, allows unmarried biological fathers to maintain rights in adoption cases. Marteliz, who claims he was unaware of the mother’s adoption plans back in May 2021, has since filed a petition to establish paternity and registered his name the month Amiya was born.

David Hurvitz, Marteliz’s attorney, criticized Florida’s law, arguing that it unfairly benefits adoption agencies over biological parents. He called for reforms, stating that the law is challenging to navigate and fight against.

The adoption agency, meanwhile, contends that Marteliz was given all the opportunities afforded by the law and is contesting the matter only because the court’s decision was not in his favor. As Marteliz’s legal battle enters its third year, prospective adoptive parents currently have custody of his daughter through the private adoption agency in Florida.

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