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Birth Father Rights in North Dakota

ND Adoption With or Without Parental Consent of the Birth Father

Does the father have to give consent for adoption in North Dakota? In what situations can a child be adopted without the father’s consent in North Dakota? Is adoption possible without knowing who the father is?

If you’re a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy, it’s completely possible that all of the above questions — and more — are running through your mind. It’s normal to feel this way. Many women who consider adoption for their children are doing so in part because an unsupportive or unknown birth father is a part of the equation. We receive questions about this situation all the time, and it’s important that women know what the adoption laws in their state have to say on the subject. The purpose of this article, then, is to summarize what the regulations are for adoption without parental consent in North Dakota.

It’s important to know, though, that this article does not constitute legal advice. It does not take the place of a licensed attorney, nor does it compare to speaking with a licensed social worker to learn about how North Dakota birth father rights apply to your individual situation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more.

What is the legal definition of a father in North Dakota?

North Dakota birth father laws say that the following factors will qualify a man as a “presumed father,” which means he is recognized as a child’s father unless that status is denied at a judicial proceeding.

  • He and the child’s mother are married and the child was born during that marriage.

  • He and the child’s mother were married and the child was born within 300 days of the marriage’s end.

  • He and the child’s mother married before the child was born, even if that attempted marriage is or could be invalid, and the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days of its end.

  • He and the child’s mother married each other after the child’s birth, he claimed paternity of the child, and:

    • His assertion is recorded with the Department of Health.

    • He is named as the child’s father on the birth certificate.

    • His promise to support the child as his own is recorded.

  • He and the child resided in the same household and he openly acknowledged the child as his own for the first two years of the child’s life.

Does North Dakota have a paternity registry?

Yes, North Dakota does have a paternity registry. A paternity registry is also known as a putative father registry and is a state-run system for men to claim paternity of children born outside of wedlock. In North Dakota, at any point after an unmarried woman discovers her pregnancy, a hospital may:

  • Provide the mother and the alleged father with:

    • Written materials about establishing paternity

    • The necessary forms for the alleged father to claim paternity

    • A written and oral description of the rights, responsibilities, and consequences of claiming paternity

  • Provide the mother and the alleged father with the opportunity to voluntarily claim paternity

Before making a voluntary paternity claim, the mother and alleged father must be informed in writing how that paternity claim can be withdrawn. The entity must also forward the completed paternity claims to the correct department. To learn more about which entities to contact, see North Dakota’s Chidl Support web page.

Are there other ways to establish paternity in North Dakota?

Yes. Paternity can also be established in North Dakota if:

  • A child’s mother and the main claiming to be the father sign an acknowledgment of paternity with intent to establish that man’s paternity.

  • A presumed father signs or authenticates an acknowledgment of paternity.

  • A respondent in a parentage proceeding admits to paternity of a child by pleading to that effect or by admitting paternity when making an appearance during a hearing.

What information is necessary to establish paternity?

According to North Dakota birth father laws, a paternity acknowledgment must:

  • Be in a record

  • Be signed or otherwise authenticated under penalty of perjury

  • State that the child whose paternity is being acknowledged:

    • Doesn’t have a presumed father other than the one listed

    • Does not have any other acknowledged or adjudicated fathers

  • State whether or not genetic testing has occurred

  • State that those who signed the document understand that it is the equivalent of a judicial declaration of paternity

Can a man revoke his paternity claim in North Dakota?

Yes. A man can begin a proceeding to rescind his paternity acknowledgment before the earlier of the following:

  • Within 60 days after the effective date of the acknowledgment or denial of paternity

  • The date of the first hearing in which a court decides an issue regarding to the child

After this period has expired, a father who has signed a paternity acknowledgment can commence a proceeding to challenge his claim to paternity only:

  • On the basis of fraud, duress, or a mistaken fact

  • Within two years after the acknowledgment has been filed

It’s also important to know that any party that challenges a paternity acknowledgment will have the burden of proof with the court.

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

For all intents and purposes, yes. If North Dakota state laws consider a man to be a child’s father, he will have a birth father’s rights in adoption in North Dakota. Of course, it’s also important to note that birth father rights are handled on a case-by-case basis; adoption without consent may still be possible in some instances where the birth father is unknown, uninvolved or unsupportive. You will need to make sure that you work with your adoption specialist to ensure that all laws are followed before you attempt to pursue an adoption without consent in North Dakota.

Your adoption specialist can help you to decide how to go about informing the father of your adoption plan while remaining safe and pursuing your adoption plan. To learn more about North Dakota birth father rights in adoption or how to proceed, please contact American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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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