Is the Father’s Consent Required for Adoption?
If you’re thinking of making an adoption plan, do you know if you can do it on your own?
Deciding that your child will be best with another family is always difficult. Whether it’s an unplanned pregnancy or you don’t think you’re ready to be a parent yet, it’s a tough choice, but also one that’s incredibly brave and filled with love.
But, can you make the decision without the father’s consent? In what scenarios is that okay, and when is it not?
Find out everything you need to know in our guide to make sure you have a simple adoption process.
Every Situation Is Different
Before we get into the laws, it’s very important to remember that every single adoption case is unique. While there are general adoption laws, there may be something in your case that makes you exempt or changes the rules slightly. That’s why it’s always best to get in touch with specialists who can help you work out the ins and outs of your personal situation.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the rules in Florida.
Adoption Without the Birth Father
We’ve seen plenty of different women throughout the adoption process who are going through it without the birth father. There can be a whole range of reasons for this, including:
- Having a toxic relationship with the father in the past
- Being unsure of who the father is
- No longer in contact with the birth father
Birth parents can have all kinds of relationships with each other, and they’re not always good! If you’re thinking of adoption without the birth father, you’re certainly not alone.
Can I Give Up My Child Without the Father’s Consent?
If you don’t have the father’s consent when placing a child for adoption, it does make things more tricky. It certainly isn’t impossible and you won’t be forced to keep and raise the child yourself, it just means that there are a few more hoops to jump through.
Throughout Florida, an unmarried woman can give her child up for adoption without the consent of a father, as long as the father doesn’t take specific steps to prove and declare paternity within a certain time frame.
The father only ever has a right to intervene with the adoption if:
- He is married to the birth mother when conception occurred or for the birth
- He is given parental rights by the court before parental rights are terminated
- He is on the birth certificate before parental rights are terminated
- He filed a written acknowledgement of his paternity with the Office of Vital statistics of the Department of Health before parental rights are terminates
Once the petition to terminate parental rights is filed, the parental rights of the father can’t be changed and the adoption is solely down to the mother. If the father doesn’t try to declare his own rights before this time, the court will assume he has waived them.
The Exception to the Rules
There is one exception to these rules which is very important. If the father can show he was given false information that stopped him from applying for parental rights, the court can overturn their original ruling and give him the chance to gain custody of the child. Essentially, if you lie your adoption can be made overturned.
Lots of women are tempted to do whatever they can to make sure the adoption goes through easily, but lying is never the answer! It can backfire hugely, so always be honest with both the father (if you are in touch), the adoption agency, and the court.
How to Talk to the Father About Adoption
Adoption facts are easy, but the emotional side can be incredibly tough. If you know the father and are in touch with him, you’re probably going to want to discuss adoption, especially now you know more about the laws.
Having the father’s consent can make the whole process of adoption so much simpler and reduce the chances of his filing for custody. Here are some tips for talking about it together.
Talk in Person or Over the Phone
The best way to talk to the birth father is in person or over the phone (unless you have a toxic relationship). By doing this, you can both express your emotions and have a proper discussion. Prepare yourself with information and facts, and be ready to listen.
If you are happy doing so, you can invite him to help with the adoption plan and be an active part of the process. Some fathers will be happy to help, which can take some of the burdens off of your shoulders.
Writing Down Your Feelings
If you’re not comfortable talking to the birth father, try writing down the situation and your feelings in a letter or email. This can help you stay clear and on track without becoming too emotional, and is a great way to broach the subject and open up a line of communication. Include all the information he’ll need and speak kindly, openly, and without malice.
Use an Adoption Specialist or Attorney
If you don’t want to tell the father, speak to an adoption specialist first. They can help you decide whether it’s the right decision. If it isn’t, they can also help you talk to the birth father in a way that’s going to be mutually beneficial.
Our Team Is Here to Help
Our team at Florida Adoptions are experts in all things related to adoption, including dealing with birth mothers who want to go ahead without the father’s consent. If you need more adoption help and tips, take a look at our resources for pregnant women. If you need help with a specific case, get in touch with us today.