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Florida dad in custody row after mum claimed girl was dead and put her up for adoption

By Alex Croft

14:50, 15 Dec 2023

Brandon Marteliz was told his baby died at childbirth by the mother, who secretly put her up for adoption. But since Marteliz found out she was alive, he has been battling for her custody

Brandon Marteliz is refusing to give up on custody of his daughter (

Image: Facebook)

A Florida father who was falsely told his daughter died at birth by the baby’s mother is now battling for custody.

After Brandon Marteliz was told the baby had died at birth, the baby’s mother put her up for adoption without Marteliz’s knowledge. But he later found out she was healthy and alive and has since been fighting a gruelling custody battle for his daughter, Amiya.

It was determined in October by a Florida judge that Marteliz’s consent was not required for the adoption to go ahead because he had not provided financial or medical support for the baby, nor was he listed on the birth certificate. His daughter, who will turn two in January, was adopted by other parents and the time open to appeal the decision has now closed.

“I felt like, okay, well I'm the father, I'm her dad, I can take a test, I can prove I'm her dad, my daughter's alive,” Marteliz said to ABC Action News. “I am willing to do whatever it takes to be given custody of my daughter and be in her life. I am willing to pay whatever form or support or cost it takes.”

Young Amiya will turn two years old in January ( Image:Facebook)

Marteliz received a text from the baby’s mother stating the child had died at birth from sudden infant death syndrome before he lost contact with her for around three weeks, and a day after the birth the mother had consented to the baby’s adoption. In the adoption filing the father was listed as a man “who may have interest in the minor child”.

But it wasn’t long before Martilez discovered his daughter was alive and in the care of Heart of Adoptions, a private adoption agency in Florida. Because the couple weren’t married at the time of the baby’s birth, his consent was not required when the adoption happened.

Marteliz has set up a room at home for his daughter with a cot, clothes and toys (


If a man is listed on the putative father registry in the US they should be notified when their parental rights are filed in adoption proceedings - and during the same month that his daughter had been born, Marteliz filled out the registry and filed a petition to determine paternity for his daughter. But legal documents said Marteliz had “not paid a fair and reasonable amount of living and medical expenses” after birth and during the pregnancy.

An attorney for Heart of Adoptions said: “Mr. Marteliz was afforded every right he was entitled to under the law, and that the court simply reached a decision that Mr. Marteliz disagrees with.” But Marteliz isn’t giving up and has set up a room in his house for her with a crib and toys.

“She should be here in this house. I'm the one who can love her. Nobody can do that like I can,” Marteliz said. His lawyer, David Hurvitz, said it is “very difficult” to navigate and “hard to fight against”. But this won’t stop Marteliz, who said: “There's a lot of fathers out there that are being robbed, that are good dads, that would — that are great dads. Something needs to be done about this. We need some help. So if anybody can hear us, we need some help.”

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