About Birth Father’s Rights

a birth father sitting on park bench wondering about his rights in adoptionFacing an unexpected pregnancy when you are unmarried can result in some difficult choices that need to be made. If you have decided adoption is the right choice for you and your baby, you probably have questions as to the birth father’s rights and what say he has in the decisions.

Whether you get along with the birth father or not, there are Florida State Paternal Laws that need to be followed. Does the father’s name need to be on the birth certificate? Can he apply for custody even if I want to place the baby for adoption? What happens if I don’t tell him or an unsure who the father is? These are just some of the questions many women have.

Establishing Paternity

Paternity can be confirmed by both birth mother and birth father agreeing that they are the parents. In this case, the father will sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity and his name will be on the original birth certificate. He will have the right to agree or to contest the adoption. Hopefully, if you have a good relationship with the father, you two can choose the adoptive parents together and can both be part of the adoption plan.

If the mother is unsure who the father is, or would prefer not to list him, she is not required to, but the father can demand a paternity test and establish his rights by registering with the Florida Putative Father Registry. The paternity test can be done during the pregnancy or when the baby is born. In an abusive situation or one in which the father does not take responsibility, the adoption lawyer will be able to file a petition with the court to terminate the father’s parental rights.

Adoption Rights

In Florida, a father has due process rights in regards to the adoption of his child. He will need to be given notice of the adoption proceedings and agree to them. If he does not agree, he would need to go to court to establish custody as well as assert paternity in order to stop the adoption. The court will decide if he would be a fit parent. If the court does not feel he can care for the child properly, then his parental rights can be terminated and the adoption plan can continue.

If he is served with notice and does nothing, typically the adoption plan may continue.

What You Need to Know

As a birth mother, your adoption coordinator will make sure you have legal representation. The Florida state law can be complicated so don’t try to get through this alone. You just need to be honest with your lawyer and your adoption coordinator. Family court’s main concern is the well-being of the child. The Florida courts do, however, want to be sure that the legal rights of all involved are taken into consideration.

Note: This article is a general overview and you will need to talk to you social worker, adoption coordinator or legal representative for accurate information about your situation.