Often when we discuss adoption, we focus more on the pregnant woman facing the decision than the baby’s birth father. This is not to say, however, that the birth father isn’t also an important part of an adoption situation. It’s important for him — as well as everyone else involved in an adoption — to know his rights, and birth fathers do have rights in Missouri.
Many women wonder how to adopt a child without the father’s consent, but the rights of biological fathers in adoption are not to be overlooked.
A putative father registry is a system for men to voluntary acknowledge that they are or may be the father of a child conceived outside of marriage. A putative father is someone who’s legal relationship to a child isn’t established, but who claims to be the father of the child. In Missouri, entering in the putative father registry means that a man will be notified should the mother choose adoption for her baby.
However, even if a man registers with the putative father registry, this does not necessarily mean that the mother won’t be able to continue with her plan for adoption without consent from the alleged birth father. If you have questions about the putative father registry and whether the birth father will receive notice of adoption proceedings in your situation, contact an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION.
Every adoption situation is different, and whether the father’s consent is required in your adoption will depend on your individual circumstances. However, in general, there are some scenarios in which a birth father may have to consent to an adoption:
If he is or was married to the mother and the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days from its dissolvent
If he and the mother attempted to marry, but for various reasons the marriage could be considered invalid
If he has acknowledged that he is the child’s father in writing
If he has agreed to be listed on the child’s birth certificate as the father
If he volunteers in writing to support the child or if he is ordered to by the court
If a genetic test determines that he is the father
If any of these conditions apply, the birth father will receive notice of any court proceedings regarding the child, including adoption petitions or any actions to terminate his parental rights.
There are, however, some instances in which a woman may be able to pursue adoption without father consent in Missouri. American Adoptions has assisted many birth mothers in creating an adoption plan without the father’s involvement or support, including in the following scenarios:
The presumed father didn’t claim paternity within the required timeframe
The mother was unsure who the father was
The birth father denied paternity
The father didn’t respond to notices from the court
The father abandoned the child
Again, birth father rights are complex and vary on a case-by-case basis. However, in the above circumstances, as long as the mother does not misrepresent or lie to the presumed father about her pregnancy, she may not need the father’s consent to pursue adoption in the state of Missouri.
Please know, though, that this article does not serve as legal advice, and birth father laws vary on a case-by-case basis and are subject to change. For more information about how to proceed with an adoption without a father in Missouri, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist who can get to know the specifics of your circumstances.
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