Creating an adoption plan can be an incredibly difficult and emotionally draining experience for a birth mother. Dealing with an uncooperative birth father certainly doesn’t make things any easier.
Can an Uncooperative Birth Father Object to an Adoption Plan?
The short answer is yes. “Birth fathers start out with the same legal rights as birth mothers,” says Harvey Schweitzer. Maryland law stipulates that the birth father must be notified and both parents must consent 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.
How to Deal with an Uncooperative Birth Father
“To ensure the adoption is completed smoothly, with little deviation from your intentions, it is critical to develop open and transparent communication with the child’s birth father,” explains the Adoption Network Law Center. This means involving the birth father in the process right from the start. However, if the birth father remains uncooperative, you do have options.
- Generally Uncooperative – Sometimes involving a third party to mediate can be a tremendous help. Sit down with the birth father and a third party to talk about the situation and try to resolve any issues to do what is best for the child.
- Refuses to Consent to Adoption – “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. You can 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.
- Ignores Contact – If the birth father ignores any attempt to contract him, a judge can terminate his parental rights and the adoption can move forward.
- Denies Paternity – If an uncooperative birth father denies paternity, he can sign a consent as “alleged.”
Adoption Makes Family is a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland, founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal. Our experienced adoption counselors are here to answer your questions 24/7.
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- 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.