What are the rights and responsibilities of the child's birth father?
FCCA is required by law to attempt contact with each man who might be the child’s biological father to give him notice of the adoption plan. FCCA’s first preference is to communicate directly with each potential father during an in-person meeting to discuss the situation. If he's not willing to meet in person, we can talk to him on the phone. Either way, the man will have the opportunity to state his feelings about the adoption plan and to ask us questions about the process.
If he does not object to the adoption, or doesn’t want to be involved in the case, he can sign a Waiver of Notice or a Denial of Paternity. If he wants to be involved in the plan, he can also sign the relinquishment documents with you. If he refuses to respond to us and takes no further action, his parental rights can be terminated by the court without notice after the child is born.
Even if you do not know the name or whereabouts of the alleged father, FCCA is required to search diligently for him and report the efforts of that search to the court. If the man cannot be located, the court will terminate his parental rights without notice to him.
Even if an alleged father objects to the adoption, he is rarely in a legal position to block the adoption from happening. This is true even if he wants to raise the child himself, or wants a family member to raise the child. An alleged biological father must take specific legal steps in a very timely fashion to establish and preserve his parental rights. In most cases, he can block the adoption only if he meets one of the strict legal requirements listed below:
1. You are married to him, or were married to him within 300 days of the child’s birth.
2. He has received the child into his home and has publicly acknowledged that the child as his own.
3. You and the birth father have both signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity to have him listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate. Hospital personnel often insist that you sign this form at the time of the child’s birth, but you are not required to do so and should NOT do so if you are planning to place the child for adoption.
4. Within a short time after he knew or should have known about the pregnancy, he has done everything possible to take care of you and the child, both emotionally and financially.
Except for the four circumstances listed above, the alleged biological father’s consent to the adoption is not required. Still, notice to him is always required, assuming we can locate him. And once he knows about the adoption, he does have the right to file a legal action to ask the court to stop the adoption. As a practical matter, however, most alleged fathers never take this step, even those who seem very adamant about preventing the adoption.
Even in the rare case where an alleged father files the legal paperwork on time, the great majority of these claims are denied because the man has not fulfilled his pre-birth responsibilities to the mother or to the child. The court then allows the adoption to go forward without his consent and over his objection.
There are some exceptions and limitations to these rules, so it's vital for you to give us all known information about all potential birth fathers. Even if you are embarrassed about some of the the facts, or believe some information will be damaging to your case, God's word promises that the truth will set you free. John 8:32. Telling us the whole truth about the situation with the child's birth father helps us to provide you with the very best counsel and assistance regarding your adoption plan.
Legal authorities: Family Code Section 7660 et.seq.