Putative Father Registry and Parental Rights
Adoption laws can be complex and difficult to navigate. Circumstances around adoption can vary widely, making it difficult for adoptive parents, birth parents, and others to know their rights and legal obligations.
Putative father registries give unwed fathers the ability to protect their parental rights. During adoption, fathers who aren’t present may be viewed as giving up their rights by adoption agencies.
But identifying and locating absent fathers is impractical and costly. So understanding what a putative father registry is helps unwed fathers claim their parental rights and protect the wellbeing of their family.
Establishing Parental Rights
A putative father is any unmarried man who believes he is the father of a child. The putative father registry is a collection of all putative fathers within a state.
The registry is a database that plays a critical role in giving fathers their legal rights to intervene in an adoption initiated by the child’s mother.
Putative fathers don’t have established legal rights since they were not married to the child’s mother at the time of birth. So states have established a provision to give unwed fathers the ability to claim paternity.
Legal Benefits of Registering as a Putative Father
Registering as a putative father gives you specific legal rights such as the right to be notified of any proceedings related to the child.
Putative fathers may be notified of any legal actions taken to terminate parental rights or put the child up for adoption.
There are registration requirements you need to be aware of in order to establish paternity through the putative father registry.
You must submit personal information including your name, address, and social security number. The birth date of both parents, as well as the child’s name, birth date, and birth location, must also be submitted.
Both parents must submit a signed statement showing their understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities.
The state requirements may differ from federal requirements. So you need to consult with an experienced family law attorney to avoid any legal issues.
Protecting the Parental Rights of Putative Fathers in Adoption
The putative father registry helps adoption agencies identify the status of the child’s father.
Some fathers may be indifferent, choosing not to support the child. Others may want to provide support but don’t know that the mother plans to put the child up for adoption.
The registry helps fathers prevent unwanted legal issues and establish paternity so they can take responsibility for the child.
Any father who has registered as the putative father must be notified of any actions that seek adoption or the removal of his parental rights.
Keep in mind that registering as the putative father doesn’t establish paternity. You still need to take the legal steps to establish paternity after you’ve registered. This is especially important if you want to secure visitation and decision-making rights.
Unwed fathers who register with the putative father registry have a chance to support their children and participate in decisions related to their adoption.
Your parental rights are yours to claim and protect when you understand family laws and adoption rules. Taking the right legal steps allows you to secure a place in the life of your child so you provide the support your family needs.