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Navigating Birth Father Rights in New Mexico

At American Adoptions, we frequently receive questions about unsupportive or unknown birth fathers in adoption in New Mexico

  • 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 in N.M.?
  • Does the father have to give consent for adoption in New Mexico?
  • Is adoption in New Mexico possible without knowing who the father is?

It’s understandable; if you aren’t sure if your child’s father will affect your adoption decision, it’s hard to know whether or not to start the process. To help you answer some of your potential questions, we’ve gathered some of the laws about adoption without parental consent in New Mexico.

Remember, however, that this article does not constitute legal advice, nor does it take the place of an attorney or social worker. To learn more about adoption birth father rights, please call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION or complete this online form to connect to a professional today.

What is the legal definition of a father in New Mexico?

According to New Mexico state law, there are three possible terms for a child’s father.

  • An acknowledged father: A man who has acknowledged paternity of the child on the putative father registry, is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate, is obligated to support the child, and has openly held out the child as his own by establishing a custodial, personal or financial relationship.

  • An alleged father: A man who the birth mother identifies as the biological father, but who has not himself acknowledged paternity or registered with the putative father registry.

  • A presumed father:

    • The husband of the biological mother at the time of the child’s birth

    • A man who was married to the mother and the child was either born during the marriage or within 300 days after its termination

    • A man who attempted to marry the mother before the child’s birth, and this attempted marriage could be declared invalid

If any of the above apply to your situation, it is unlikely that you will be able to pursue adoption without the consent of the father.

Does New Mexico have a paternity registry?

Yes. A paternity registry, or a putative father registry, is a way for men to claim paternity of children born out of wedlock. In accordance with birth father adoption laws in New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Health has a putative father registry to record the names and addresses of:

  • Men who were adjudicated by a New Mexico court to be a child’s father

  • Men who filed with the registry, before or after the birth of a child out of wedlock, a notice of intent to claim paternity of the child

  • Men who have filed with the registry an instrument acknowledging paternity

  • Men adjudicated by any U.S. court to be the father of a child born out of wedlock, if a certified copy of the court order has been filed with the registry

Are there other means to establish paternity in New Mexico?

Yes. Either at or before a child’s birth, the child’s mother and natural father will have an opportunity to complete an acknowledgment of paternity. This acknowledgment will contain:

  • A sworn statement by the mother

  • A sworn statement by the father

  • Written information from the Human Services Department explaining the implications of signing the acknowledgment

  • The Social Security numbers of both parents

Is there a way to revoke a paternity claim in New Mexico?

Yes. If a man files a notice of intent to claim paternity, he may revoke that at any time. His intent to claim paternity shall then be deemed null and void.

So, in New Mexico, to put a baby up for adoption, does the dad need to agree?

If a man is considered the father of the child, then he does have a birth father’s rights in adoption. These rights should not be ignored, and adoption without consent from the father may be highly unlikely. It’s always best to speak with an adoption specialist if you aren’t sure your baby’s father will support your adoption decision. This is big news, and it’s important to be sensitive to his feelings when informing him of your plan.

When possible, it’s always best to discuss things like this in person. However, that isn’t always ideal. It may be better to explain your plan to him via letter or email, remembering to be understanding and empathetic. If you feel unsafe around the father of your child, do not attempt to make contact. In this situation, your adoption specialist will help you to notify him in a safe, ethical and legal way.

Please remember that everyone’s individual situation is different and that this article does not constitute legal advice. To learn more about pursuing a New Mexico adoption without knowing the father or without his support, please call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION or reach out to us online.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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