It’s not uncommon that women approach American Adoptions wondering how to adopt a child without the father’s consent in Virginia. If you came to this article wondering, “Does the father have to give consent for adoption in VA?” we hope to be able to help you answer that question. However, please know that this does not constitute legal advice. Pursuing adoption without parental consent in Virginia can be tricky; the only way to get a definite answer in your situation is to speak with a social worker or attorney.
First, it’s important to know Virginia’s legal definition of a father:
A man who is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during that marriage
A man who was married to the mother of the child, and the child was born within 300 days of their separation or the termination of their marriage
A man who married the mother of the child, even if the marriage could be declared invalid, before the child was born, and the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days of its termination
If there is evidence that another man is the father, Virginia’s legal definition would be rebutted, and the other man would be deemed the father of the child.
If a man believes he is the father of the child but the above scenarios do not apply, he may still have a birth father’s rights in adoption. Virginia has a Putative Father Registry, which is a system for men to voluntarily acknowledge paternity of a child born outside of marriage. If a man wishes to be notified of any adoption proceedings, he can register with the Putative Father Registry before the child is born or within 10 days of the birth.
If a man does not register, he may still have the rights of a biological father in adoption in Virginia if he has established a significant father-child relationship with the child, or if he claims his paternity before any petition for adoption or for the termination of parental rights is filed with the court.
A parent-child relationship may also be established by genetic tests or a voluntary written statement by the father and the mother confirming that the man is indeed the child’s father.
Virginia birth father rights in adoption are significant and not to be ignored. If possible, it’s always best to let the baby’s father know about your adoption plan. Provided that you aren’t in a situation where you’re pursuing adoption when the father is unknown, it’s preferable to talk to him in person or over the phone. As long as you feel safe around him, this will allow you to explain why you think adoption is the best route for your baby. It’s also possible to write him a letter or an email.
If you don’t feel safe around your child’s birth father, do not put yourself and your baby at risk. Speak with an adoption specialist, who will help you to safely let the father know of your intentions.
Remember, this article does not serve as legal advice. To speak with an adoption specialist about pursuing adoption without father consent in Virginia, call 1-800-ADOPTION.
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