Giving a Baby Up for Adoption Without Father’s Consent in AR
A Guide to Birth Father Rights in Adoption
In many adoption articles, the focus is primarily on the prospective birth mother and her role in the adoption process. However, both of the baby’s biological parents are important. It’s vital that prospective birth fathers, as well all other parties in an adoption, know their rights. And Arkansas’s birth father adoption laws exist to make sure the rights of biological fathers in adoption are acknowledged.
Many times, pregnant women come to our agency asking similar questions about a prospective birth father’s involvement in their decision:
- Does the father have to agree to adoption in Arkansas?
- Is adoption possible without knowing who the father is?
- What if I want to put my baby up for adoption, but the father doesn’t?
We know this period in your adoption journey can be stressful, which is why American Adoptions’ specialists are always here to help. When you choose adoption for your baby, you will receive legal assistance from an adoption attorney (free of charge) as well as the guidance of your specialist. This means that you don’t have to be a legal expert or understand all of the laws about birth father rights in Arkansas before getting started.
Still, it can be helpful to know a few things. That’s why you can always call a specialist for free at 1-800-ADOPTION to ask any questions you may have about birth father rights in adoption in Arkansas. We’ve also provided some general information below, but please remember: This article is not intended to be nor should be taken as legal advice.
Only an adoption attorney can provide personalized guidance on prospective birth father rights in adoption for your circumstances.
Birth Father Rights in AR Adoption: The Putative Father
As you consider adoption for your baby in Arkansas, you will probably hear the term “putative father” at one time or another. This term may come up a lot during your journey, so it’s good for you to know what it means.
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 provides 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. Simply put, it’s a way he can initiate establishing his father’s rights in adoption.
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. Additionally, registering on the Putative Father Registry is not a fool-proof way to claim parental rights. Often, additional methods are used to establish the man as the father of the baby before he can claim any rights to the child.
If you are a prospective birth father interested this aspect of birth father adoption laws in Arkansas, we encourage you to reach out to a local adoption attorney for more guidance.
Do You Need the Father’s Consent for Adoption in Arkansas?
In most cases, yes. An adoption without consent from the birth father may be difficult to complete. However, every adoption situation is different. So, whatever yours may be, we encourage you to contact our adoption specialists anytime for personalized guidance.
In adoption, birth father rights often require a father’s consent in these situations:
- 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 is 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, including if:
- 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. Therefore, you must talk with a specialist about your individual circumstances before determining how your baby’s father might be involved in your Arkansas adoption.
How Will Your Relationship With the Father Impact Your Adoption?
At this point, as a prospective birth mother, you may be wondering if your relationship with the father of the baby will make adoption impossible. But, no matter your situation, adoption may still be an option for you and your baby. Over our 25 years of work, American Adoptions has guided women in all kinds of relationships with the father of the baby.
Sometimes, prospective birth fathers are uninvolved or unknown. If you don’t know who the father is, that’s okay. You can still choose adoption when the father is unknown in Arkansas.
Other times, prospective birth fathers are known and unsupportive. This can be tricky, but adoption can still be possible in this situation, too.
There are also instances when the prospective birth father is known, involved and supportive. This is ideal for everyone involved. If you are a prospective birth father, you have the opportunity to support the mother of the baby when she is making one of the most difficult choices in her life. You may be surprised to know that supportive birth fathers can be one the most important and helpful people in this whole process.
Whatever your situation, our specialists are always available to guide you. Whether you’re wondering how to adopt a child without the father’s consent, or you’re making an adoption plan with the father’s involvement, we’re always happy to answer your questions. Give us a call anytime at 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a specialist, or request more information online.
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