The Birthfather’s Rights

Even if the birth father is not actively involved and supporting the adoption, his legal rights must still be addressed. He must be notified if the birthmother intends to proceed with an adoption. Should the birth father be difficult to locate, the adoption professional must make diligent efforts to locate him. If he is not notified, he might later contest the proceeding and disrupt an otherwise successful adoption.

Once the birth father knows of the adoption plans, he has several options: he may deny that he is the father and surrender his rights; if he does not respond at all, an abandonment proceeding will begin, after which his rights will be terminated; he may object to the adoption plans, but must then be willing to assume the responsibilities of support or custody himself; or he can agree with the plans and sign a surrender for adoption.

The great majority of birth fathers choose not to parent themselves, sign a consent, and the adoption proceeds successfully. Failure to notify all potential fathers as soon as possible, however, may lead to emotional and legal difficulties for all involved parties.