Do I need the consent of the father of my abandoned child for him/her to be adoped by another man?

by John D. Treleven, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist

First, you would need to determine the father’s legal standing in regards to the child.  Generally speaking, a man will be considered the legal father of a child if any of the following apply: 1) he was married to the mother when the child was conceived; 2) the father has adopted the child; 3) a court made a determination that he is the legal father; or 4) the father formally acknowledged paternity (through CSEA and/or birth records).

If a man is believed to be the father of the child but does not fit any of the possible definitions listed above, then he is considered the alleged or “putative” father.  This determination is important in deciding whether consent to adopt is necessary.

Written consent to adopt from a legal father is required unless you can prove that the father has only had minimal contact with the child or has failed to support the child for one year prior to filing for adoption or placement of the child in the petitioner’s home.

Written consent to adopt from a putative father is required unless you can prove that the putative father is not the actual father of the child, or if the putative father “willfully abandoned or failed to care for and support” the child.

In sum, if the father has taken certain legal steps to establish paternity, then you would need to show that he has only had minimal contact with the child or failed to support the child for one year.  If the father has not taken any legal steps to establish paternity, then you would need to prove he has had no contact with the child for ninety days or failed to support the child.

 As each factual situation is unique, you should contact an attorney who can help you determine the proper course of action.

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