Adoption With or Without Birth Father Consent in California

Adoption without the birth father’s consent in California is possible. But, there are some legal exceptions that you should be mindful of. To get the best guidance on your specific situation, speak with an adoption professional.

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For many reasons, plenty of expectant mothers ask, “Can you put a baby up for adoption without the birth father’s consent in California?”

Whether you are curious about adoption without consent because your baby’s father is unknown, unsupportive or otherwise uninvolved in your life, we can likely help you proceed with your adoption plans.

To speak with a trusted adoption professional today, contact us online and get free adoption information now.

Does the Father Have to Approve Adoption in California?

FCCA is required by law to attempt contact with anyone who might be the child’s biological father to give them notice of the adoption plan. This means we will ask you for their name and contact information.

Although you are not legally required to give us this information, failing to do so means that the adoption could be at risk if they learn of the child's existence at some point. Unless you are afraid for your safety, it is always best to disclose as much as you know so that we can take the proper steps.

Once you do tell us the name of any potential father, we are required to attempt to notify them. Our first preference is to communicate directly with each potential father during an in-person meeting to discuss the situation.

If they’re not willing to meet in person, then we can talk to them on the phone. Either way, they will have the opportunity to state their feelings about the adoption plan and to ask us questions about the process. We will explain the adoption process and provide the information they need to consider the adoption plan.

But, we will never tell them where you live or how to find you or the child unless you authorize us to do so.

If they refuse to respond to us and take no further action after receiving notice, then their parental rights may be terminated by the court without notice after the child is born. In this case, the father’s consent for adoption in California isn’t needed.

Does the Father Have a Say in Adoption if They’re Unknown?

Even if you do not know the name or whereabouts of the alleged father, FCCA is required to search diligently for them and report the efforts of that search to the court. 

If the birth father cannot be located, then the court may terminate their parental rights without notice to them.

Adoption When the Father is Supportive or Neutral

Perhaps you are married to your baby's father, or you’re not married but still have a positive relationship. If the baby’s father doesn’t want to be involved before or after the birth, then they can sign a Waiver of Notice (whether you two are married or unmarried) or a Denial of Paternity (only if you two are not married to each other).

If they want to be involved in the adoption plan, then they can sign the relinquishment documents with you after your baby is born. 

Having the support of your baby’s father can simplify the adoption process, and they can be as involved in your adoption plan as you want them to be. Here are some ways you might choose to include them:

  • Ask them to help you determine what types of adoption situations you want for your baby
  • Offer to let them review adoptive family profiles with you
  • Involve them in pre-placement contact with the adoptive parents
  • Lean on them for emotional support throughout the adoption process
  • Include them in your hospital plan

The birth father can also maintain a relationship with the child after placement. If they’re interested in an open or semi-open adoption, then FCCA can include them in your post-placement contact agreement.

Adoption without the Birth Father’s Consent When They’re Unsupportive

So, can a biological father stop an adoption in California? Even if your baby's father objects to the adoption, they’re rarely in a legal position to block the adoption from happening. This is true even if they want to raise the child or want a family member to raise the child.

Most biological fathers must take specific legal steps in a very timely fashion to establish and preserve their parental rights.

In most cases, a father can block the adoption only if they meet one of these strict legal requirements:

  • You are or were married to them within 300 days of the child’s birth.
  • They have received the child into their home and have publicly acknowledged the child as their own.
  • You and the birth father have both signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity to have them 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.

Unless they can meet at least one of the three requirements listed above, a biological father’s consent for adoption in California is not required. Still, notice to them is always required unless their identity is unknown or we cannot locate them.

Once they know about the adoption, they 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 and vocal about preventing the adoption.

Even in the rare cases where a father files the legal paperwork on time, the great majority of these claims are denied because they have not fulfilled pre-birth responsibilities to the mother or the child. The court may then allow the adoption to go forward without their consent and over their 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. 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.

Speak to a Professional

To learn more about adoption without the birth father’s consent in California and get more free information now, fill out our online contact form.