Since both you and your child's father have legal rights to parent the child, most states require the signature of both parents in order to put a child up for adoption. You may be wondering if this means that your baby's father can step in at the last minute and stop you from putting the child up for adoption. In some situations, he may be able to do just that. Here's a look at what you need to know about how your child's father can influence the adoption process.
Is The Father Named on the Birth Certificate?
If you listed your baby's father on the birth certificate, that identifier means that he will have to sign a form surrendering his parental rights before you can put the baby up for adoption. If he doesn't consent to the adoption, you may still be able to surrender your parental rights and allow him to raise the baby if you agree to do so.
What If the Father Isn't Listed?
In a situation where you are unsure about the identity of the baby's father, didn't tell him that you were pregnant or didn't identify him for any other reason, that doesn't always mean you're free and clear of a father's signature for the adoption. In fact, if the father finds out about the baby, he can request a paternity test to establish his legal rights over the child. When this happens before the adoption, he may be able to stop the adoption from happening. If the adoption is already in process, he may have a predetermined amount of time to contest it. Your adoption attorney can tell you how much time is permitted to contest the process.
How Can the Father Contest the Adoption?
Before the baby's father can do anything to stop the adoption, he will have to prove a few things to the court. First and foremost, he'll have to prove that he is your baby's father. In most cases, there are a few ways to do this.
- A valid paternity test
- A court order mandating that he support your child
- His written proclamation of paternity
- The presence of his name written on the birth certificate
- If the two of you are married, were married or attempted to marry and the child is born within a predetermined period (typically 300 days) of the attempt or end of the marriage.
- Filing a legal affidavit claiming paternity with the court.
Once paternity has been established, the courts will typically require that he sign the same parental right surrender form that you have to sign to put the child up for adoption. If he wants to fight for custody, he'll have to prove that he is able to parent the child. Along with the petition to stop the adoption, he'll have to document his commitment to parenting.
This means showing the courts that he has the means and ability to raise the child appropriately. He'll have to be able to pay for pregnancy and childbirth costs, if you haven't had the baby yet. He'll also need to show that he has a reliable income source, a living environment that's suitable for the child and the ability to take care of and safely raise the baby.
In most courts, as soon as he files the petition to stop the adoption, he'll have to follow that up with a petition to seek custody. If the father isn't prepared or able to seek full custody of the child, he may not be able to legally stop the adoption.
It is always in your best interest to have a heart-to-heart with your baby's father before placing the child up for adoption. That way, you can both discuss your concerns and your plans and potentially come to an agreement. Talk with an adoption attorney today for more guidance about putting your baby up for adoption. You can also talk with an adoption agency for more information or visit websites like http://www.achildsdream.org.Share