What are the birth father’s rights in adoption? Each state has different laws about birth fathers, but generally speaking, they fall into one of two categories: a legal father and an alleged father (also called a putative father). In virtually every state, a birth father’s rights can be terminated before the baby is born. Here’s how it works:
A legal father is usually either married to the birth mother or lives with her and provides financial support. Generally, a legal father must consent to the adoption or sign some type of paperwork that says he knows there’s an adoption plan and he waives his right to be involved.
An alleged (putative) father isn’t married to the birth mother and hasn’t provided financial support to her during the pregnancy. In most states, an alleged father is entitled to notice of the adoption plan. Once he gets notice of the adoption plan, he has a short period of time to file something in court to establish himself as the child’s parent. If he does nothing, the adoption can move forward without him.
Every situation is different, sometimes a birth father will be involved in the adoption plan and other times not. Here are some situations where birth mothers worry that they can’t do an adoption because of the baby’s father. I can help even if:
Megan Cohen is one of the only adoption attorneys in the country who is also a birth mother. Admitted to the bar in January 2010, Megan began working for the firm that same year and took over as managing attorney in 2013. She has since received the Super Lawyers’ Northern California Rising Star award in 2013, 2014, and 2015. She graduated magna cum laude and first in her class from law school and worked 3 years as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and elder abuse.