Preventing Your Infant Child From Being Adopted Without Your Consent
Erik L. Smith
Consult an adoption law or family law attorney. Otherwise: An unwed father has no absolute right to veto an adoption. You must take action to preserve your rights. Whether the mother is considering adoption or not, an unwed father should, as soon as possible and preferably before the birth:
Before the birth, an unwed father should consult an attorney experienced in adoption about preserving his parental rights. The attorney should be asked for counsel/advice about acknowledging paternity, bringing a paternity action, and getting a court order to keep the child in the father’s state and out of the hands of third parties.
It is important that the unwed father abide by the law in order to preserve as many options open to him as possible. Do not abuse or threaten the mother in any way, as these actions will almost certainly jeopardize your rights. Neither should you rely on the mother to provide accurate information or to proactively include you in her decisions. (This article does not encompass state-initiated adoptions in child neglect, dependency, abuse, etc., cases.)
An adoption is a court order making a non-parent a parent of the child. Before the order can be entered, the parental rights of the biological parent must be “terminated.” In most states, adoptions can proceed with or without an adoption agency, but they must go through the court system.
When a biological parent objects to an adoption in court, the proceeding becomes a “contested” adoption. Contested adoption proceedings have six general stages: