Putative Father Registries Protect Father’s Rights

Many states offer a putative father a registry so he cannot lose parental rights without his consent. A putative father notifies the state registry that he wants to be notified if an adoption petition is filed involving his child.

Courts in most states construe a failure to register to mean consent to the child’s adoption. If a father registers, the state contacts him to inform of a pending adoption action involving his child, so he can intercede if he desires.

Registration doesn’t mean the court automatically accepts him as the child’s father. Paternity must be proven to the court’s satisfaction to halt an adoption.

Putative fathers usually have a very limited period of time to register, either before the baby is born or within thirty days after the birth. The registration may be revoked at any time by the state.

Seventeen states, (Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, and West Virginia) as well as American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, have no putative father registries.

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