baby kaylee

An undated photo of Colby Nielsen, of Lewiston, with his daughter, Kaylee, whom Nielsen claims was placed for adoption against his will.

The court has now been invited to join in the custody battle between a Lewiston man desperately seeking to the right to raise his infant daughter and the young woman who, he claims, attempted to place the child up for adoption without his consent.

Wesley Hutchins, the attorney representing Colby Nielsen, said Friday he filed a temporary restraining order in 1st District Court.

The motion filed includes a formal request for Kaylee to be returned to her father at once.

“We are waiting to hear from the court,” Hutchins said Friday.

During an interview Wednesday morning, Hutchins said he attempted communication with Kevin Fife, the attorney representing the mother of Nielsen’s daughter, who was born November 4.

Hutchins hoped the matter could be settled out of court, but after receiving “no communication whatsoever,” he said he filed several motions in court.

Kaylee Mae Nielsen was born just after 7 p.m. at Logan Regional Hospital, and according to documentation provided by Hutchins, the baby girl was given her father’s name on the birth certificate and both parents signed a voluntary disclosure of paternity, a record filed with the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics.

An amendment on her birth certificate, dated Nov. 9, notes that paternity has been established.

According to a public Facebook post, Nielsen and the mother were under a great deal of pressure to place the infant for adoption but ultimately agreed to take the baby home to Lewiston, and a couple days later, the couple decided they would keep their baby.

Just one day later, the mother was allegedly coerced into giving up her child.

“Colby refused to sign, he was against the adoption. She left and signed the papers, leaving the baby with Colby. Since that night, Colby has had total care of his baby ... Colby planned on keeping custody of his Kaylee and started getting all the legal actions into place,” the Facebook post reads.

On Nov. 18, Colby was forced to turn the child over to law enforcement and for five days, Kaylee was cared for by the couple who wished to adopt her.

This post started a firestorm of social media discussion ranging from heartbreak, support, criticism of all parties and the Utah laws that made this possible.

“This law, meant to protect mothers and babies with an absentee father, is an absolute travesty and disgrace in a situation like this,” said local attorney Erin Byington, who presented the Nielsens before Hutchins took the case. “If a father does not file a paternity action, specifically stating certain things by affidavit, prior to the mother signing her relinquishment for adoption (not court action, just a signature,) the father loses all ability to fight the adoption and seek custody. It doesn’t even matter if he’s on the birth certificate, or even if he physically has the baby in his care. This cannot possibly be the intended result of this legislation.”

Much of the criticism was aimed at the couple who wished to adopt Kaylee one week ago; they backed out of the adoption earlier this week in a move that only further complicated the custody issues, because Kaylee was returned to her mother, not to Nielsen.

According to Hutchins, the mother relinquished her rights to the baby, and that cannot legally be revoked. That, in addition to the declaration of paternity, stand strongly in Nielsen’s favor. However, before taking to the court, Hutchins wanted to facilitate a resolution between the couple.

Nielsen has been unable to see his daughter since she was taken from him, and on Wednesday, Hutchins confirmed on social media that police were asked to conduct a welfare check on the child amid concerns that the mother had taken the baby and might leave the area.

Then, on Thanksgiving Day, he was only given the chance to see her if he went to the birth mother’s home, alone.

Hutchins advised Nielsen to wait — and they all continue waiting.

While Hutchins remains very vocal about the case, the Nielsen family has not responded to numerous efforts to contact them directly. Fife, who represents the birth mother, was not available Friday. His office was closed in observance of the holiday.

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amacavinta@hjnews.com

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Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com.