Adoption without Parental Consent in North Carolina

Understanding Birth Father Rights in NC Adoptions

At American Adoptions, it’s not uncommon for us to hear questions about adoption when the father is unknown or unsupportive. “Can a child be adopted without the father’s consent in North Carolina?” “Is adoption possible without knowing who the father is?” “In North Carolina, what if I want to put my baby up for adoption but the father doesn’t?”

These are all understandable questions. It can be difficult to know what to do when you aren’t sure if adoption is an option because of your child’s biological father. And while there is no one-size-fits-all answer to questions about adoption without consent from the father, we can help you to understand what North Carolina’s laws say on the subject.

Please note that this article does not serve as legal advice. To learn what options might be available to you in your individual situation, please call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist.

How is paternity usually established in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, a birth certificate for every live birth that happens in the state is filed with the local county within 10 days. If the mother was married during either conception or birth, her husband will be written as the father on the birth certificate, except when:

  • A court has deemed another man to be the father

  • The child’s mother, her husband and the alleged father all acknowledge the alleged father’s paternity

If the mother was unmarried from conception through birth, the father’s name will not be included on the birth certificate unless the child’s mother and father file an affidavit acknowledging that he is indeed the father.

Are there other ways to establish paternity?

Yes. When six months from the date of conception has passed, the birth mother, an adoption agency acting on her behalf or the adoptive parents she has chosen may file a request with the county clerk to determine whether the birth father’s consent is required for adoption. The father will then be served with notice of the mother’s adoption plan, and he will have 15 days to assert his paternity and claim that his consent is required for the adoption.

If he does not respond, the court will not require his consent for the adoption. In this case, the birth father’s rights in adoption are forfeited.

What information is required to establish paternity in North Carolina?

If the mother is married, the affidavit acknowledging paternity will include the following information:

  • A sworn statement from the mother declaring that the man claiming to be the child’s father is indeed the child’s father

  • A sworn statement from the putative father saying he believes he is the child’s father

  • A sworn statement from the mother’s husband declaring that the putative father is the father

  • The Social Security numbers of the mother, the putative father and the mother’s husband

  • The results of a DNA test that confirms the putative father’s paternity

If the mother is not married, the affidavit must include:

  • A sworn statement from the mother declaring that she was unmarried from conception through the child’s birth and that the man claiming to be the child’s father is indeed the child’s father

  • A sworn statement from the father claiming paternity

  • The Social Security numbers of both parents

So if I want to put a baby up for adoption, does the dad need to agree in North Carolina?

In short, North Carolina does give birth fathers rights in adoption. If you wish to pursue a North Carolina adoption when the father is unknown or disagrees with your adoption plan, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist about your options.





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