Birth Father Rights
Generally speaking birth fathers fall into one of four categories: known, unknown, uninvolved, or involved. Every state has different laws that govern the issues related to biological fathers’ rights in adoption. Birth fathers may or may not be involved in the adoption process. Staff at Beacon House works with the adoptive families to answer questions about specific situations. Attorneys and agency staff will implement the best process based upon the information received from the birth mother.
Known/ Identified fathers may or may not want to be involved in the adoption process. Usually when a birth father wants to be involved in the process, the birth mother and birth father are in an ongoing relationship. This is optimal for the birth mother, as he can provide emotional support during her pregnancy.
An uninvolved father typically has no interest in continuing a relationship with a birth mother. In the case of an alleged father who is identified and has known whereabouts, he must be given notice of the impending adoption proceeding. If a birth mother does not wish to contact him directly, Beacon House can contact him to determine if he would be in agreement or not with the adoption plan. Often a middle person can make more progress with this than the birth mother who is emotionally involved in the decision.
An alleged father may be identified but have unknown whereabouts. In this case, the Court will generally appoint an attorney to represent him as an absent person, and the attorney will attempt to locate him. The attorney then reports to the Court the success or failure of the attempt and the process moves on from there.
Additionally, it is not uncommon to have an unknown biological father for a variety of reasons. In most states, there is a registry that alleged fathers can sign up with to let it be known they want to be recognized. In the case of an unknown father, the attorney will obtain a statement from the registry showing that no one has signed up and obtain some other documentation, after which the unknown father’s rights can be terminated.