Can I Choose Adoption Without Father Consent in California?

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

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

Notifying the Father of Your Adoption Plan

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. This means we will ask you for his name and contact information. While you are not legally required to give us this information, failing to do so means that adoption could be at risk if he learns of the child's existence at some point later. Unless you are truly afraid for your life, 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 him. Our 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, he will have the opportunity to state his feelings about the adoption plan and to ask us questions about the process. We will explain the adoption process and provide the information he needs to consider the adoption plan. We will never tell him where you are located, or how to find you or the child, unless you authorize us to do so.

If he refuses to respond to us and takes no further action after receiving notice, his parental rights may be terminated by the court without notice after the child is born.

Adoption When the Father is Unknown

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 may terminate his parental rights without notice to him.

Adoption When the Father is Supportive or Neutral

Perhaps you are married to your baby's father, or are not married but still have a positive relationship. If the baby’s father doesn’t want to be involved, then before or after the birth, he can sign a simple 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 he wants to be involved in the adoption plan, he 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 he can be as involved in your adoption plan as you want him to be. Here are some ways you might choose to include him:

The birth father can also choose to maintain a relationship with your child after placement. If he is interested in an open or semi-open adoption, FCCA can include him in your post-placement contact agreement.

Adoption When the Father is Unsupportive

Even if your baby's 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. 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 he meets one of these strict legal requirements:

Unless he can meet at least one of the four requirements listed above, a biological father’s consent to the adoption is not required. Still, notice to him is always required, unless his identity is unknown, or we cannot locate him. 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 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 the man has not fulfilled his pre-birth responsibilities to the mother or the child. The court may then allow 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 facts, 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.

To discuss your circumstances and learn more about legal adoption without the father’s consent, contact us today to speak with an adoption social worker. Your call is free, confidential, and does not obligate you to proceed with an adoption plan.