In many adoption articles, the focus is primarily on the birth mother and her role in the adoption process. However, both of the baby’s biological parents are important. It’s vital that birth fathers, as well all other parties in an adoption, know their rights. And Arkansas’s birth father adoption laws do exist to make sure the rights of biological fathers in adoption are acknowledged.
Arkansas statutes define a putative father as “any man not legally presumed or adjudicated to be the biological father of a child but who claims or is alleged to be the father of the child.” A putative father is not married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth.
Arkansas does have a Putative Father Registry, which is a system for men to voluntarily acknowledge that they may be the father of a child born outside of a marriage. When a putative father registers with the registry through the Division of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services, he is entitled to be notified about any legal proceedings that involve the child he has claimed.
Arkansas birth father adoption laws do mandate that a man must establish a custodial, personal or financial relationship with the child before he has any parental rights.
In most cases, yes. An adoption without consent from the birth father may be difficult to complete. In adoption, birth father rights include obtaining his consent for adoption in the following scenarios:
If the man was married to the mother during or after the baby’s conception
If he has custody of the child when a petition for adoption is filed
If he has a written order that grants him legal custody when a petition for adoption is filed
If he’s the baby’s adoptive father
If he proves that he has a significant custodial, personal or financial relationship with the child that has existed prior to the filing of the adoption petition
In Arkansas, the putative father must register prior to the filing of the adoption petition. There are instances, however, when a woman may be able to pursue an Arkansas baby adoption without the father’s consent:
The father has deserted or abandoned the child
The father does not have custody of the child and has also not communicated with or supported the child for at least one year
The father has relinquished his right to consent or the court has terminated his rights
The father is declared incompetent or mentally defective by a court
The father has failed to respond to a request for consent within 60 days of receiving it or is found by the court to be withholding consent unreasonably
The father has filed with the Putative Father Registry but has failed to establish a relationship with the child before the adoption petition is filed
Birth father rights in Arkansas vary on a case-by-case basis. It is important to talk with an adoption specialist about your individual circumstances to determine how your baby’s birth father might be involved in your Arkansas adoption.
If you’re still wondering about how to adopt a child without the father’s consent, it’s important that you speak with an adoption professional about your particular situation. Please note that this article does not serve as legal advice, and every adoption situation is different. To learn more about pursuing adoption without parental consent in Arkansas, call 1-800-ADOTPION to speak with an adoption specialist, or request free information here.
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