In most adoptions, the emphasis is placed on the mother for obvious reasons. The father is also important. But not all fathers are equal.
When a child is born to a married couple in North Carolina, the husband is presumed to be the father of the child. A husband has the same legal parental rights as the mother, even if he is not actually the biological father of the child. For unmarried biological fathers, the rules are very different.
Biological Father’s Rights in an Adoption
Unmarried biological fathers do not automatically have legal rights to parent their children. Unmarried biological fathers must act before the child is born to protect their parental rights. Unmarried biological fathers must take affirmative steps before the baby is born to establish their parental rights.
Right to Notice
During an adoption, every potential birth father has the right to receive legal notice that the child he may have fathered is going to be placed for adoption. After this legal notice is delivered, the father will have a brief period of time to act to protect his parental rights. To protect your rights, you must respond and object.
Waiting to receive a legal notice may be too late. If you do not act promptly, even before the child is born, you may lose the opportunity to protect your parental rights. Each case is different, so you should consult an experienced adoption attorney to get details on your specific situation.
If The Father Does Not Agree With The Adoption
Biological fathers must act before the child is born to protect their parental rights. Unwed biological fathers have a duty to inquire about whether the mother is pregnant. Unwed biological fathers have a duty ask the mother “Could I be the father?”
An unwed biological father must acknowledge his paternity, even if he is not sure he is the father. Unwed fathers must accept their parental obligations and contribute to the needs of the mother and child. If an unwed father wants to protect his right to parent his child, he needs to act like a husband.
If you think you could be the father of a child and you want to know how to protect your parental rights, contact an experienced adoption lawyer.
If the Father Wants to Be Involved and Agrees with the Adoption
If you are not ready for the 24/7 job of being a parent, adoption can be the right choice for you and a wonderful opportunity for the child. Participating in the adoption process is the best way to protect your rights. Being involved gives you the opportunity to participate in selecting adoptive parents. It gives you the opportunity to receive updates and pictures over the years.
If you are the biological father of a child and are not married to the mother, you need to act promptly, or you risk losing your parental rights. Call for a consultation to find out what your rights are and learn about your options.
It is important to have an experienced adoption attorney on your side to protect your parental rights. Bobby Mills has over 30 years’ experience in adoption law in North Carolina and can help you navigate the process. Call us today at 919-306-2899 to schedule a consultation.