close menu

Birth Father Rights in Washington Adoptions

Adoption Without Parental Consent in Washington

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

As a national, full-service adoption agency, we hear questions like this frequently. It’s understandable. If you are attempting to pursue adoption when the child’s father is either unknown or supportive, it can add even more worry to what may already be a stressful time in your life. It’s important to know that potential adoption obstacles involving your baby’s biological father are complicated, and this article isn’t meant to serve as a how-to guide. However, if you have questions about pursuing adoption without consent from the father in Washington, we hope this article will help you understand the relevant laws. You can also contact us online at any time.

Please keep in mind that this article does not serve as legal advice. To learn more about what might be possible in your specific situation, please contact an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION.

What is the legal definition of a father in Washington?

Laws about adoption in Washington state that a man is presumed to be a child’s parent if:

  • The man and the mother of the child are married or in a domestic partnership and the child is born during the relationship or within 300 days after it ended.

  • The man and the child’s mother entered into a domestic partnership before the child was born, even if that marriage or partnership could be declared invalid, and the man voluntarily claimed the child and:

    • Filed this assertion with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

    • Agreed to be named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate.

    • The man promised in a record to support the child as his own.

  • The man lived in the same household as the child for the first two years of the child’s life and openly acknowledged the child as his own.

Does Washington have a paternity registry?

A paternity registry, or putative father registry, is a system established in some states to help protect birth father rights. These serve to allow fathers to voluntarily register paternity of a child born outside marriage. Doing so means that he will receive notifications of court proceedings, adoption petitions, or actions to terminate his parental rights. Washington is amongst the states that have a paternity registry.

To register, the child’s mother and a man who claims to be the father may sign an acknowledgment of paternity that:

  • Is on record

  • Is signed by both the mother and the man claiming to be the father

  • States that the child does not have a presumed father (or names him if the child does), nor another acknowledged father

  • States whether or not genetic testing has been done and what the results were

Who has access to the information on the paternity acknowledgment?

Washington allows the following parties to receive the information included on the acknowledgment or denial of paternity:

  • A signatory of the acknowledgment or denial

  • The courts of Washington or any other state

  • Any agencies operating a child support program

  • Any agencies involved in a dependency determination for a child named in the acknowledgement

To sum up the above information, Washington laws do allow for birth father rights in adoption. If you wish to pursue adoption when the father is unknown or unsupportive of your adoption plan, please call 1-800-ADOPTIN to learn about what options may be available to you in this scenario. 

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.

Request Free Information
View More Waiting Familes
Want to speak to someone who has chosen adoption?
Meet Michelle — A Proud Birth Mom
Ask an Adoption Question