Adoption and Fathers' Rights

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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Does the Biological Father Have Rights in an Adoption Proceeding?

A birth father has a Constitutional right to be notified that he might be the father of a child who is being put up for adoption.  He also has the right to be heard in court if he believes the adoption should not go forward.  

If the father is not known, or the whereabouts of the father is unknown, many states require that some sort of notice be published in the legal advertising section of the newspaper, informing all persons claiming to be the biological father of the pending adoption.

Does the Biological Father Have to Consent to an Adoption?

Whether or not a father's consent is needed for an adoption to go forward can depend on the state, the relationship between the father and the child, and the relationship between the two parents.

How Can a Biological Father Block an Adoption?

If the biological father of a child wishes to stop that child from being adopted, he must file a court action to establish his parental rights.  In most states, an unmarried father will not be allowed to block an adoption unless he has taken every reasonable measure to accept his responsibilities toward the child and mother.  

In Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New York, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, an unmarried father must attempt to act responsibly to the child prior to the placement for adoption in order to have the right to block the adoption.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

If you are dealing with adoption and parental rights issues, you should contact a lawyer experienced in the field of family law.  Laws on paternity rights and adoption are complicated and vary from state to state, and an experienced attorney can help you to understand the law.

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Last Modified: 04-08-2014 02:18 PM PDT

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