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Birth Father RightsBirth Father Rights

Birth Father Rights

The parental rights of the birth father and how his rights are legally ended are critical elements in the child adoption process.

Alleged or Putative Birth Father Rights

The legal father is the man who is married to the birth mother even if she has been separated from him and even if he is not the biological father. A putative father, also called the alleged father, is the biological father of a child born out-of-wedlock. The legal father, biological father, or putative father are all considered to be the birth father(s).

The biological mother and the biological father (or alleged or putative father) and the legal father all have parental rights concerning their child and their parental rights must be ended (terminated, surrendered. or relinquished) before the child can be adopted. This is the case whether or not the father is still involved with the birth mother.  It is also the case if the father's name is not on the birth certificate.  It also applies even if he is "unknown".  In every child adoption the rights of the biological birth father and legal father can not be overlooked or ignored. 

The birth father of the child has many of the adoption related choices along with the birth mother including the type of child adoption and the selection of the adopting family. The laws of the state in which the birth mother terminates her rights and the laws of the birth father's state of residence will help define the birth father's rights.

You may also find reading the Child Welfare Information Gateway article "The Rights of Presumed (Putative) Fathers" to be helpful.

Ending of Parental Rights

Every U.S. state has laws regarding ending the parental rights of the birth mother, birth father, and legal father.  Once their parental rights have been terminated, the child is legally free to be adopted. You may want to check the laws under the heading of "termination of parental rights" of the state in which the birth father and birth mother reside.  This can be done at Adoption Laws.  You may also want to read the Child Welfare Information Gateway article "Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights".

Help for Adopting Families by State

 Alabama  Montana
 Alaska  Nebraska
 Arizona  Nevada
 Arkansas  New Hampshire
 California  New Jersey
 Colorado  New Mexico
 Connecticut  New York
 Delaware  North Carolina
 Florida  North Dakota
 Georgia  Ohio
 Hawaii  Oklahoma
 Idaho  Oregon
 Illinois  Pennsylvania
 Indiana  Rhode Island
 Iowa  South Carolina
 Kansas  South Dakota
 Kentucky  Tennessee
 Louisiana  Texas
 Maine  Utah
 Maryland  Vermont
 Massachusetts  Virginia
 Michigan  Washington
 Minnesota  West Virginia
 Mississippi  Wisconsin
 Missouri  Wyoming
 More Adoption Help
 Pregnancy  Placing a child for adoption
 Parenting  Adopting a child

Birth Father RightsBirth Father Rights