Parental Rights Unmarried Fathers and Adoption

As a parent the biggest right that one has is to object or consent to the adoption of his or her child. Generally, for adoption, the consent of both parents is required subject to certain requirements. Unmarried father who are not married to the child’s mother must provide paternity and commitment to raising the child in order to gain paternal rights.

Paternity

Proving paternity is vital for demonstrating a commitment to parenting the child. The most common way of proving paternity is through a civil lawsuit that uses DNA testing to establish paternity. Biological father who are not married to the child mother but wanting to have a say in the adoption must prove paternity as soon as possible. Failing to do so will result in loss of paternal rights. Time is of the essence. Waiting too long to prove paternity will be considered as a lack of commitment to the child. Unmarried fathers need not wait until the child is born to prove paternity. They can do so when the mother is pregnant. Please check with your state paternity laws.

Unaware Fathers

Unaware fathers who generally run out of luck when it comes to adoption. In some states the father must acknowledge paternity and provide for the child from the time the child is born or even during the time the mother is pregnant. Generally courts do not entertain the objections of unaware fathers after the adoption is complete especially if the lack of awareness was due to the father’s own fault.

Waiting to learn about the children before proving paternity is generally not advisable when it comes to adoption. Instead the unmarried father should try and find out if he has fathered any child and take steps to prove paternity.

Commitment

Proving paternity is only the first part. To gain paternal rights with regard to adoption, the unmarried father must show a commitment to raising a child. He must provide for the child’s emotional and material requirement and attempt to forge a parent child relationship with the child. Paying the expenses of pregnancy and birth and providing child support after the birth are generally seen as evidence of commitment to raising the child. Unmarried fathers who did not pay the pregnancy and birth expenses and do not have the ability to pay support or who have drug or alcohol addiction problems will generally not be given the right to object.

Objecting to Adoption

The exact procedure for objecting to the adoption varies from state to state. Generally the unmarried father must file the objection in the appropriate court. In some states it must be filed with the state health department. Often the objection must include willingness and a petition for custody.

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