Faqs About Terminating A Biological Father's Rights In An Adoption

Part of the adoption process involves the biological parents' rights being terminated. However, if the biological father is not in agreement regarding the adoption, is missing, or is incarcerated, this can complicate the adoption process. If you are planning to adopt, here is what you need to know about the biological father's rights. 

What If the Biological Father Challenges the Adoption?

The biological father who has proved his paternity has a legal right to object to the adoption of his child. He is responsible for explaining to the court why the adoption should not be allowed. At that point, whether or not his rights can be terminated is up to the family court. 

The court might be reluctant to terminate the biological father's rights unless there is a good reason for doing so. For instance, neglect, abandonment, and sexual abuse are considered solid reasons. 

If the court does decide the biological father's parental rights should be terminated, the adoption can proceed. 

What If the Biological Father Is Missing?

If the biological father is missing, the adoption agency has to go through a number of steps before the court would be willing to consider terminating his rights. For instance, the agency is required to send notifications to the last known address for the father, contact any known family members, and places of employment. 

The agency is also required to post notices regarding the adoption in newspapers. The court will determine in which areas the notices should be posted. How long the father has to respond varies from state to state. 

If the father fails to respond after the allowed time, the court can choose to terminate the father's rights and allow the adoption to continue. 

It is important to note that some states have a Putative Father Registry. Fathers who want to protect their parental rights are required to sign up through the registry. If your state has a registry and the father has failed to register, the court might allow the adoption to proceed even without locating the father and obtaining his permission.

What If the Biological Father Is Incarcerated?

The biological father being incarcerated does not automatically terminate his parental rights. If the father agrees with the decision to place the child for adoption, his rights can be terminated by filing the right documentation. 

However, if he does not agree with the adoption, the decision is up to the court. It is possible for the father to still maintain his rights even though he is imprisoned. 

To fully explore your options for terminating the biological father's parental rights, consult with a family attorney. He or she can help you assess the situation and file the proper documentation with the court.