Rights of the Unmarried Father and Adoption?

Family law attorney

If an unmarried mother wants to put her baby up for adoption does the biological father have any say in the matter? Usually, the consent of both biological parents is required for the adoption process to be a success. If the father wishes to object to the adoption, the father must prove paternity and also show they are committed to being a parent to the child.

Establishing Paternity

It is important for a father wishing to establish paternity and be a voice in any adoption proceedings do so as soon as possible. If that is not done, a single father can be prevented from obtaining any parental rights. To the court, failing to establish paternity in a timely manner shows that the father is not committed to raising the child. It may be necessary to file a civil lawsuit to get DNA testing done in order to prove the paternity of the child.

A father can establish paternity if he finds out that the mother of the child has made a decision to put her unborn baby up for adoption. Consult with a family law attorney to discuss what laws are applicable to fathers in each state.

If a father waits to acknowledge his child until well after the baby is born, he may lose the right to be involved in any adoption decisions. The court has ruled that a father should be involved as soon as they discover a baby is on the way.  It will, of course, depend on the circumstances of each case whether or not the father even had knowledge of the pregnancy or baby. However, if the father was aware of the pregnancy or baby, they should be proactive in taking steps to establish a role as a parent. 

Is the Father Committed to Being a Parent?

Is the father able to provide financially and emotionally for the needs of the child? Does he wish to develop a sincere relationship with the child?

Commitment can be illustrated by how the father acts during the pregnancy, buy assisting in paying costs related to the pregnancy, delivery and paying child support after the baby is born. If the father can show he can provide for the baby during pregnancy and at birth, the court will likely determine that the father has shown a commitment to being a parent. On the other hand, a father who is not involved and cannot show they can provide financial support or have alcohol or drug use issues can be denied any rights when it comes to adoption decisions.

How Does a Father Object to an Adoption?

A family law attorney in Lake Forest, IL, can answer questions concerning an unmarried father’s adoption decision rights and can represent you if you need to go to court to object the adoption. Your attorney can explain the procedure and the importance of taking action in a timely manner, sometimes as short a time period as 30 days. While it is easy to determine the biological aspects of fatherhood, the rights of a father are not always as transparent as that of a mother and the duties of motherhood.

Thank you to Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC. for their insight into adoption law and the rights of the unmarried father and adoption.