Each state has their own specific laws regarding the rights of the birth father. It is important to talk to an attorney in your state to get legal advice regarding the birth father and none of the below information is or is intended to be legal advice. ‘Escalated’ fathers are those who are married to the birth mother, their name is on the birth certificate, or they have provided support prior to the adoption. In this situation, the consent of the father will typically have to be obtained in order for the adoption to proceed. ‘Alleged’ or ‘Putative’ fathers are probably the most common type of father in a situation where an adoption plan is being made. These are men who are not married to the birth mother, their name is not on the birth certificate, and they have not supported the child.
Many states in the U.S. have putative father registries. This is a legal option for a putative (possible) birth father to protect his right to receive notice of an impending adoption plan by the birth mother. If a man has intercourse with a woman he isn’t married to, and if he wants to protect his right to receive legal notice if she makes an adoption plan, he needs to file with the putative father registry in the state where sex occurred. If he fails to do so within the prescribed period of time for the respective state, he loses his right to receive notice and his rights can therefore be terminated involuntarily. Even in states without registries, there is a time limit for the putative father to object. ‘Unknown’ fathers are those in situations where the birth mother identifies more than one man as a possible birth father or can be the case in a rape situation. Expectant mothers considering adoption are sometimes trying to leave an unhealthy or even abusive situation with the birth father. It will be important for the legal professionals the expectant mother is working with to be aware of her situation so the adoption can be handled in the most legal, secure, and safe manner.
**Much of the content is taken from ‘Adopting in America: How to Adopt Within One Year’ (Revised for 2018-19) by Randall Hicks with input also from several fellows of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys.