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Understanding Birth Father Rights in Iowa

Adoption With or Without His Parental Consent

Does the father have to give consent for adoption in Iowa? What if I want to put my baby up for adoption but the father doesn’t? Can a child be adopted without the father’s consent Iowa? Is adoption in Iowa possible without knowing who the father is?

It’s not uncommon for us to receive questions like this at American Adoptions. It makes complete sense; if an unsupportive or unknown birth father is going to affect your ability to pursue adoption, then that’s something you need to know so you can make the best choice for your child. Each of the 50 states has different laws regarding adoption without parental consent, so we’ve compiled what you need to know about those adoption laws in Iowa.

Please keep in mind that this article does not take the place of legal advice. If you have questions about Iowa adoption without parental consent of the birth father, you should absolutely direct those to a lawyer or a social worker. To speak with an adoption specialist about your individual situation, please call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION.

What is the legal definition of a father in Iowa?

With adoption in Iowa, a father is the male biological parent of a child. A putative father is a man who claims to be or is alleged to be the biological father of a child with a woman he is not married to at the time of the child’s birth.

Does Iowa have a putative father registry?

Yes, Iowa has a paternity registry, or putative father registry, which is a system that allows fathers to voluntarily acknowledge paternity of children born outside of wedlock in order to protect their parental rights. A declaration of paternity filed with the putative father registry may be used to establish paternity or to determine an obligation of support. Just because a man fails to file a declaration of paternity does not mean he will be able to legally avoid financially supporting a child.

Paternity can be established in the following ways:

  • By court order

  • By the statement of the person admitting paternity in court and upon the concurrence of the child’s mother

  • By filing with the State registrar, as long as the mother of the child was unmarried at the time of conception, birth, and any time in between

  • By establishing paternity in a foreign jurisdiction

What information does an alleged father need to provide for the paternity registry?

The putative father must record his name, address, Social Security number, and any other identifying information required by the department. He must also provide the mother’s name, last known address, Social Security number and any other identifying information requested by the department. If the child has been born, he must provide the name, date and location of the child’s birth, if possible.

In Iowa, to put a baby up for adoption, does the dad need to agree?

If a man is legally determined to be a child’s father, then it’s important that his birth father’s rights in adoption in Iowa are acknowledged. If you aren’t sure the father of your child will understand or accept your decision to pursue adoption, it’s always a good idea to speak with a social worker before speaking about adoption with the father. This news will probably come as a big surprise to him, and it’s important that you deliver this information with sensitivity and understanding.

If possible, it’s always better to discuss things like this in person, but that option isn’t always realistic. If necessary, it might be suitable to explain your plan via letter or email, keeping in mind that you should explain in detail why you think adoption is the best choice and be understanding that he might have other opinions. However, if you feel unsafe around the father of your baby, do not put yourself in harm’s way to talk about adoption. In this scenario, ask your adoption specialist how best to safely proceed.

Again, please remember that everyone is different, and this article does not constitute legal advice. To learn more about completing an Iowa adoption without knowing the father or with an unsupportive father, please call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION. 

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