Criminalization of Ex-fathers
The following document is copied from the Utah Code. What it says is that the State determines whether parents have rights--"If, because of his conduct or condition, a parent is determined to be unfit or incompetent based on the grounds for termination of parental rights...the welfare and best interest of the child is of paramount importance, and shall govern in determining whether that parent's rights should be terminated.
In principle, it would seem contradictory to speak of "parental rights", then suggest that such "rights" can be "terminated". It might also suggest that such a drastic action is rare and carefully considered.
In practice this "determination" is trivial in the case of divorced men. Thier former children's welfare dictates that their natural fathers should have no parental rights. After all, they nearly always tend to be "deadbeat dads", and criminals automatically forfeit their "rights", don't they?
In addition, we all know that their record of performance proves that the bureaucratic agents of the State are unqualified experts at determining what constitutes the "best interests" of children under their control.
62A-4a-201. Rights of parents -- Children's rights -- Interest and responsibility of
(a) Courts have recognized a general presumption that it is in the best interest and
welfare of a child to be raised under the care and supervision of his natural parents. A child's
need for a normal family life in a permanent home, and for positive, nurturing family
relationships will usually best be met by his natural parents. Additionally, the integrity of the
family unit, and the right of parents to conceive and raise their children have found protection in
the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The right
of a fit, competent parent to raise his child has long been protected by the laws and Constitution
of this state and of the United States.
(b) It is the public policy of this state that parents retain the fundamental right and duty to
exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children
who are in their custody.
(2) It is also the public policy of this state that children have the right to protection from
abuse and neglect, and that the state retains a compelling interest in investigating, prosecuting,
and punishing abuse and neglect, as defined in this chapter, and in Title 78, Chapter 3a.
Therefore, as a counterweight to parental rights, the state, as parens patriae, has an interest in and
responsibility to protect children whose parents abuse them or do not adequately provide for their
welfare. There are circumstances where a parent's conduct or condition is a substantial departure
from the norm and the parent is unable or unwilling to render safe and proper parental care and
protection. Under those circumstances, the welfare and protection of children is the
consideration of paramount importance.
(3) When the division intervenes on behalf of an abused, neglected, or dependent child, it
shall take into account the child's need for protection from immediate harm. Throughout its
involvement, the division shall utilize the least intrusive means available to protect a child, in an
effort to ensure that children are brought up in stable, permanent families, rather than in
temporary foster placements under the supervision of the state.
(4) When circumstances within the family pose a threat to the child's safety or welfare,
the state's interest in the child's welfare is paramount to the rights of a parent. The division may
obtain custody of the child for a planned period and place him in a safe environment, in
accordance with the requirements of Title 78, Chapter 3a, Part 3, Abuse, Neglect, and
(5) In determining and making "reasonable efforts" with regard to a child, pursuant to the
provisions of Section 62A-4a-203 and keeping with the presumptions described in Subsection
(1), both the division's and the court's paramount concern shall be the child's health, safety, and
(6) In cases where actual sexual abuse, abandonment, or serious physical abuse or
neglect are involved, the state has no duty to make "reasonable efforts" or to, in any other way,
attempt to maintain a child in his home, provide reunification services, or to attempt to
rehabilitate the offending parent or parents. This Subsection (6) does not exempt the division
from providing court-ordered services.
(a) It is the division's obligation, under federal law, to achieve permanency for
children who are abused, neglected, or dependent. If the use or continuation of "reasonable
efforts," as described in Subsections (5) and (6), is determined to be inconsistent with the
permanency plan for a child, then measures shall be taken, in a timely manner, to place the child
in accordance with the permanency plan, and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize
the permanent placement of the child.
(b) If, because of his conduct or condition, a parent is determined to be unfit or
incompetent based on the grounds for termination of parental rights described in Title 78,
Chapter 3a, Part 4, Termination of Parental Rights Act, the welfare and best interest of the child
is of paramount importance, and shall govern in determining whether that parent's rights should
Amended by Chapter 274, 2000 General Session
Last revised: Wednesday, June 05, 2002