When (And How) Can You Place Your Child For Adoption Without The Father's Consent?
If you're currently pregnant and considering placing your child for adoption, you may be worried that the child's father will contest this process, forcing you to raise and care for a child you don't want. While placing a child for adoption without the father's consent is possible, there are a number of hurdles you'll have to jump before being permitted to do so. What should you do if the father refuses to sign over his rights? Read on to learn more about the nuts and bolts of giving up a child for adoption without the father's consent, as well as what you can do if the father is trying to block this process.
When can you give your child up for adoption without consent?
There are some situations in which the father is unavailable or simply uninterested in consenting to (or opposing) an adoption. If this is the case, you'll be able to proceed without express consent from the father, as long as he doesn't actively oppose the adoption. However, you may have trouble placing your child with a family privately or securing the services of an adoption agency if the father hasn't signed away his legal rights to the child, as this makes it more likely he may later attempt to regain custody at a later date. Adoptive parents don't want to live with this uncertainty if there are other children available for adoption.
Because an adoption must be approved by a court to be valid, the court will want to know the efforts you (or your attorney) made to secure the father's consent before attempting to place your child for adoption. If these efforts are deemed insufficient, the adoption may be stalled; if you give birth in the meantime, you'll either raise the child yourself or turn him or her over to a foster care agency until the adoption can proceed.
In some situations, the biological father's rights can be actively terminated by the court. This usually happens only if the father is convicted of a violent felony or other crime and is contesting the adoption. If a judge determines that adoption is in your child's best interest, he or she may legally sever the biological father's rights and permit you to sign over your own legal rights, relinquishing your child to his or her adoptive family.
How can you ensure your case moves forward without the express consent of the child's biological father?
There are a few steps you can take to help ensure a judge approves your adoption even if the biological father isn't participating in the process. First is ensuring that the biological father has plenty of notice of the impending adoption and an opportunity to object. If the father chooses not to object after being served notice, he's considered to have waived his right to contest the adoption and can't later decide he's changed his mind.
This notice can be accomplished in a few ways. First is sending a certified letter to the father's house or having him served with papers by a process server, constable, or sheriff's deputy. This is the ideal method, as the certified mail tracking or process server's testimony can help confirm that the father received adequate notice. If you don't know where the father lives, you can place a notice in the local newspaper for a few weeks or hire an investigator to try to track him down and learn his current address. Some states also have putative father registries, which include lists of men who think they may be fathers of unknown children and have submitted their names to state government officials to be more easily traced if paternity must be determined. If these steps have been taken, your adoption will likely proceed without a hitch.
For more information on giving up your child for adoption, check out a site like http://www.achildsdream.org.