What rights do birth fathers have?

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Initially a birth father’s legal rights are slim. In fact, if you are single and elect to have an abortion before the birth of your baby, the birth father will have no say in how you decide to handle your pregnancy. However, if you are married and plan to have an abortion, your state may have laws that require you to notify and receive consent from your spouse before you can have an abortion. (see the article titled “Know The Law: Legal Restrictions on Having an Abortion” in this magazine.) If you plan to raise your child yourself, you will want to read “As Motherhood Comes” for more information about the birth father’s legal rights in single parenting. Many states now grant the birth mother and birth father equal parental rights regarding visitation once the baby has been born. If you plan to create an adoption plan for your child, you will want to read “Who Has to Sign and Can I Change My Mind?” as adoption laws pertaining to the birth father vary from state to state. more
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If a birth mother is legally married, her husband is the presumed father and his rights are equal to hers. As the birth father, he must also agree to terminate his parental rights and proceed with the adoption. If the identified birth father is not married to the birth mother, he is known as the assumed father and his rights vary depending on state law. Madison works with birth fathers in making the adoption plan in the same way that we work with birth mothers. Madison will be sure that the birth father has an opportunity to meet with an adoption attorney or agency to advise him of his rights, the laws, and obtain his consent to the adoption. Time frames for the consent also depend on state law. If a birth father is not willing to consent to the adoption, Madison will work with him to determine his plan for the childs future. Often, birth fathers are reluctant to consent, but they are not ready to be a full-time parent. more
They have all the same constitutionally protected parental rights that birth mothers have, unless they waive them or let them lapse. In response to a small number of cases in which birth fathers came forward to claim parental rights after the child's placement with an adoptive family, some states have enacted legislation limiting the time period and circumstances within which a birth father may assert his parental rights. In New Jersey, biological fathers must come forward within 120 days of the birth of the child and take specific affirmative action, if they wish to object to an adoptive placement. Except in extraordinary circumstances, a birth father may not avoid this law in New Jersey by claiming that he was unaware of the mother's pregnancy. more
In Florida, if able, a birth father is required to provide financial support to a birth mother during her pregnancy to be able to interfere with her adoption decision. We attempt to locate and contact birth fathers to see if they will voluntarily cooperate with the adoption and sign a consent. For birth fathers who will not cooperate, the judge will determine if he provided the pre-birth support necessary to prevent adoption. Florida has a paternity registry that allows a termination of the rights of certain birth fathers who do not register timely. All placements are at-risk until the court terminates the birth parents' rights. This means you may have to return the child should termination not occur. more
Birth fathers may participate in adoption planning and sign consents for adoption if they wish, no matter what state you live in. Generally, birth fathers have the same rights birth mothers do, but how that plays out will differ from state to state. Its important to investigate the laws in the state where you live or where the baby will be born, and the state where the adoptive parents live, if it is different from yours. In Oregon, if birth parents are not married to one another and the birth father is not available, not involved or not interested, the adoption can proceed without him. If birth parents are married to one another, he must usually sign consents. If the birth father doesn't want the adoption and is not married to the birth mother, he must take certain legal steps to stop it. If this is your situation, you should speak with an adoption agency or an adoption attorney. In Washington, if a birth father does not sign consents for adoption, he must be given legal notice that ... more
If a woman is legally married her husband is the presumed father and his rights are equal to hers, and he must also agree to the adoption. If the identified birth father is not married to the birth mother he is called an assumed father and his rights will vary from state to state. The adoptive couple's attorney may need to address this issue, since the birth father's rights can vary from state to state. Birth fathers that are supportive of the adoption will meet with an adoption attorney in his state that will advise him of the laws and obtain his consent to the adoption. Timeframes for the consent will vary from state to state. If a birth father is not willing to sign papers and is not in agreement with the adoption it is important that he be contacted immediately by your attorney to determine if he wants to parent or if he is just being obstinate. If a birth father will not willingly consent to the adoption, but he is not going to fight it, there may be steps that can be taken to ... more
IIn Florida, if able and aware of the pregnancy, a birth father that desires to establish and/or protect his rights is expected to pay a fair and reasonable amount of the expenses incurred in connection with the mother's pregnancy and the child's birth, in accordance with his financial ability, when not prevented from doing so by the birth mother. We attempt to locate and contact birth fathers to see if they will voluntarily cooperate with the adoption and sign a consent or affidavit of nonpaternity.
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Birth fathers have rights which vary from state to state. There are various legal methods available whereby a birth father’s rights can be terminated, depending on the variables involved in your particular adoption plan. For instance, the birth father may either be known or unknown. If he is known, can he be located? If he is known, is he in agreement as to the adoption? It is not uncommon for a birth father to initially be skeptical about adoption. However, after learning more about the process and feeling included, and not shut out, they may become supportive, deciding adoption is the best option for all involved. Some birth fathers may not be willing to consent to an adoption, but they also will not fight it. Your attorney and/or agency will decide the best course of action in proceeding to terminate a birth father’s rights depending on the laws in the states involved and the birth father’s status. more
A married womans husband and a legal father must consent to an adoption plan. An unmarried biological fathers rights are contingent upon the actions that he has taken to provide for the pregnant mother and her child. Florida maintains a confidential paternity registry and registration is a condition precedent to the requirement that an unmarried biological father consent to an adoption plan. more

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