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Meaning of “Alleged Father” and Why It Matters

What is an alleged father?

It is important to understand how the law defines each potential father. According to

“A “father” means the male, biological parent of a child. A “putative father” is a man who is alleged to be or who claims to be the biological father of a child born to a woman to whom the man is not married at the time of the birth of the child”.

In adoption, not all fathers are created equally.

An “alleged father” is generally:

  • someone who is not married to the expectant mother,
  • could be the child’s father, but
  • does not have an automatic right to custody.

However, alleged fathers are entitled to notice that he is possibly the father.  The notice also states that the child is the subject of an adoption proceeding.

sleeping baby - alleged father post

key to understand an alleged father’s role

An Alleged Father may sign adoption paperwork

If he is agreeable to the adoption plan, an alleged father can sign paperwork.  He can consent to the adoption or he can sign a waiver.  This “Waiver of the Right to Further Notice of Adoption Planning” must be notarized.  This form does not terminate his rights. However, must initiate a legal action if he wishes to rescind his waiver.

If the alleged father does not sign a waiver, then the adopting parents must arrange to have him legally served with a Notice of Alleged Paternity. He has 30 days after service of the notice or the birth of the baby, whichever is latest, to file an action to prove that there is a father-child relationship and to ask for custody. If he does not respond to the notice within the statutory time, then the court is petitioned for an order terminating his parental rights, if any.

Alleged versus presumed father

When an alleged father elevates his legal standing to that of a “presumed” father, the situation can become complicated. Presumed fathers have many more rights than alleged fathers. We have extensive experience with both alleged and presumed fathers. Terminating all possible fathers’ rights is critical in any adoption, even when a birth mother doesn’t know who the father is or where he lives.

We’re here to help.  Feel free to email or call with your questions.  Always confidential.

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You can send me your questions about adoption or ask me to send you more information.  Your communication with me is always confidential, and you’re never under any obligation to do an adoption.  I’m here to help, not to pressure you or tell you what to do.


Megan Cohen, Birth Attorney

Contact Megan Today

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