Adoption and Fathers' Rights
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.
- In virtually all states, a child cannot be adopted without the consent of the birth father if the parents are married, or were married within a certain time period before the birth of the child.
- If the parents were not married, but lived together either at the time of the child's birth, or within a certain time before the child's birth, some states require consent of the father.
- If the biological parents were never married and have never lived together, most states do not require the father's consent before placing a child up for adoption. The birth father is given notice of the intent to put the child up for adoption, and if he does not challenge the adoption, his parental rights are terminated. If he does challenge the adoption, a hearing will be held to determine whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
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.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 07-14-2011 02:29 PM PDT
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