Does the Birth Father Have to Agree to an Adoption?
“Birth fathers start out with the same legal rights as birth mothers,” says Harvey Schweitzer. And in the state of Maryland, both parents must consent to adoption. However, “If you and the birth father are unable to come to an agreement, it is still possible to procure a successful adoption for your child,” explains the Adoption Network Law Center. But you will have to take the matter to court.
“At this point a judge must assess whether or not the birth father has followed appropriate measures as outlined by associated state laws, and demonstrated appropriate demeanor during the birth mother’s pregnancy,” explains the Adoption Network Law Center. Then, the judge will determine whether or not the adoption can continue.
“The outcome will turn on when the birth father objected, the particular facts of the case, and the applicable laws,” says Schweitzer.
What If I’m Not Sure Who the Birth Father Is?
Maryland law stipulates that the birth father must be notified before an adoption can occur. This is true even if you are unsure who the birth father is. “A birth father has a Constitutional right to be notified that he might be the father of a child who is being put up for adoption,” says Kourosh Akhbari, LegalMatch Legal Writer.
In cases where the birth father’s identity is uncertain, your adoption agency is legally obligated to search diligently for him and report the results of these efforts to the court.
“Many states require that some sort of notice be published in the legal advertising section of the newspaper, informing all persons claiming to be the biological father of the pending adoption,” says Akhbari.
If the birth father still cannot be located or fails to respond, the court can terminate his parental rights and allow the adoption to move forward.
Adoption Make Family Can Help
Adoption Makes Family is here to help! We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Adoption Makes Family works with birth mothers and fathers in all types of situations and will devote the time to getting to know you individually to determine the best way to move forward while respecting the wishes of both parents. Our staff is here to listen – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.
24-Hour Hotline 410-683-2100
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.
- Akhbari, Kourosh. “Adoption and Fathers’ Rights.” LegalMatch, 26 June 2018, www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/adoption-and-fathers-rights.html.
- Mann, Leslie. “Birth Dads Still Fighting for Bigger Role in Adoption Process.” Chicagotribune.com, Chicago Tribune, 9 May 2016, www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-birth-fathers-family-0105-20151207-story.html.
- Schweitzer, Harvey. “Birth Father Rights.” My Adoption Advisor, www.myadoptionadvisor.com/th_gallery/birth-father-rights/.
- “What Is a Contested Adoption?” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies, adoptionnetwork.com/what-is-a-contested-adoption.