Brevard father fights adoption agency to regain custody of daughter

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A Brevard county father fighting to get custody of his young daughter will have to wait for a judge to make a decision.

Vinton Moton said his former wife gave up their daughter for adoption without his permission.

Moton's former mother-in-law told Channel 9's Melonie Holt that he never gave up his parental rights. Now, she's fighting with him to get his daughter back.

Moton, 47, was in family court for a hearing Tuesday, where his attorneys filed a motion against Cocoa Beach's Home at Last Adoption Agency. It's part of Moton's efforts to gain custody of his 3-year-old daughter. She is living with prospective adoptive parents in Massachusetts.

"I can't believe this type of thing is happening," said Moton.

According to court records, Moton's former wife consented to the adoption while the couple was still husband and wife, although initially, she told the adoption agency she was single.

At the time, Moton was in jail on a battery charge involving his wife. The charge was later dropped.

In a pending civil case, attorneys for the adoption agency contend Moton was served with a notice of the intended adoption plan. Moton told Holt that the notice stated he and his wife were not married.

"I said, 'I'm not signing this, this is a lie. We are married. I do not give my consent,'" Moton said.

A later petition from the adoption agency alleged abandonment on Moton's part.

An attorney for the agency told Holt that Moton was given visitation rights, but hasn't exercised them. Moton said he's tried to contact his daughter through attorneys without success. Now, he wants her back

"The father is an important role in the world and the home they need that for stability," said Moton.

Moton has found an unlikely ally in his former mother-in-law, Jacqueline Geyer.

"You can't erase the fact, he is her father," said Geyer.

So far, Moton's parental rights have not been severed, which means, legally his daughter cannot yet be adopted by the family who currently has custody.