Birth Father Rights in Indiana
What You Need to Know
Adoption is no easy decision. No matter what your relationship with the birth father is, he can be another source of stress in this unplanned pregnancy choice. Not every relationship is supportive, and it can be difficult to have a conversation about adoption when you might not know the outcome. At American Adoptions, we know that every relationship is different, and we also know that you may have many questions on what to do if the birth father is not involved in or unsupportive of your choice.
You may be asking yourself, “Can I give my child up for adoption without the father's consent in Indiana?” Remember, you are not alone in asking this question. For adoption, birth father rights can have a significant impact on the process. Below, you can learn more about the birth father adoption laws in Indiana and how to proceed depending on your situation.
However, because every situation is different, we always encourage you to call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a trained counselor about your circumstances.
Does the Father Have to Give Consent for Adoption in Indiana?
How to place a baby for adoption without the father's consent is one of the first dilemmas that a woman with an unsupportive birth father may be considering. “I want to put my baby up for adoption but the father doesn’t” is a common thought to have during adoption. This is especially true if you are unsure of how to proceed with an adoption without a father.
Below are just a few of the instances in which you may be having these thoughts.
- The birth father is abusive.
- The birth father is unsupportive.
- The birth father is unknown, or you don’t know where he is.
Many women have been in your shoes before. The fact is, the birth father’s rights in adoption may have a large impact on your adoption placement, and only a professional can determine your steps forward
By calling 1-800-ADOPTION, you will be able to receive free information and resources for your current situation. Every case is different, but a birth parent specialist will always discuss your personal situation with you. You are not obligated to choose adoption by contacting our agency, and no one will pressure you to. Connecting with an adoption professional will simply give you more options based on your individual situation with the birth father.
There are some cases where you can place a baby up for adoption without parental consent in Indiana. These situations can be those in which:
- A parent’s right to consent was relinquished or terminated.
- A parent has been found to be unfit by a legal court.
- A father has denied paternity before or after the birth.
These are just a few of the circumstances where consent is not required. A specialist can give you more information about how to proceed with an adoption without a father in Indiana.
Ideally, the birth father is supportive of your choice regarding adoption, but for a number of reasons, this may not be the case — and we understand that. In general, adoption without parental consent in Indiana may be possible, but it all depends on your circumstances.
What if the Birth Father is My Husband? Does that Change Anything?
If the birth father happens to be your husband as well, the birth father’s rights in adoption may change. Indiana law states that a husband is automatically the biological father of a child. If the child is born outside of marriage, only then will it be necessary to establish paternity.
A married prospective birth mother may be in a loving relationship with the father of the baby. However, the couple may be unable to care for a baby due to a number of factors. For example, they may have other children but are unable provide the kind of life they want to give to another child.
No matter your reasoning as a married prospective birth mother, adoption is still a valid choice.
Is Adoption Possible Without Knowing Who the Father Is?
If you are unsure who, or where, the birth father is, that is perfectly okay. Many women wish to pursue adoption when the father is unknown. In some cases, the birth father may not even be aware that he could be a father.
For this type of situation, the state of Indiana has what is called a Putative Father Registry. This database allows men to acknowledge the possibility of their paternity and to receive notice of any court proceedings regarding the adoption. There are quite a number of benefits available to men using the Putative Father Registries. One example is that a man is able to enact his birth father rights in adoption. It also allows the birth father to know of the pregnancy and adoption plan before an expectant mother finds an adoptive family. His early notice can make the adoptive process much smoother.
Even with the number of benefits, there are some criticisms of this registry:
- Some men will be unaware that they have fathered a child or that a Putative Father Registry is available in their state.
- Each state’s putative father registry operates independently from others. For example, a prospective birth mother who is looking for the potential father may try to contact the Indiana registry, but the potential father may have registered in another state. In this case, she would be unable to locate him.
While some people believe that a national registry would solve some of these shortcomings, for now, the putative father registry is the best way for a man to assume his parental rights.
A man who wants to establish his paternal rights should register as soon as possible. In Indiana, he must register either prior to the child’s birth, within 30 days after birth or by the date the adoption petition is filed. You can find out more information on the Putative Father Registry in Indiana here.
If a potential father does not register in the state registry, you may be able to proceed with an adoption without consent or notice from him.
In short, it may be possible to choose adoption when the father is unknown in Indiana. Your specialist will work with you to make sure every legal option has been used to find the unknown father before pursuing this path.
As each situation is unique, the best way to get information on the rights of biological fathers in adoption in Indiana is to call 1-800-ADOPTION. Whether you have an unsupportive, supportive, or unavailable birth father in your life, a specialist can help you with the answers that you need.
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