Massachusetts residents may know that parents may object to their child’s adoption. This fundamental right might be complex when the father is not married to the mother. In such cases, the biological father may need to take steps to assure that his rights are protected.
One hurdle in establishing a father’s rights is paternity. This is done using DNA testing where genetic material is compared between the father and the child. There are times when the father is unaware that a pregnancy exists. In such cases, it may be difficult to have testing done before an adoption is completed. When this happens, it is problematic for a father to have any say on the adoption of his child.
Fathers who are aware of the pregnancy may wish to have testing done quickly. The court may view prolonging this as a sign the father is not committed to caring for the child. To eliminate such an impression, the father may wish to have genetic testing done as soon as the child is born or while the mother is still pregnant if he believes she would want to give the child up for adoption as soon as the baby is born.
Other things that might be done to illustrate the father’s parenting commitment include helping to pay for expenses related to the pregnancy and to begin paying voluntary child support once the birth occurs. In addition, establishing a parent-child relationship is essential. In spite of showing paternity and an effort at committed parenting, a father may find himself in a position where he needs to object to the adoption. In that case, it may be necessary to file his objection in court. Having the benefit of an attorney’s insight may help assure that the court filing and strategy is effective.
Source: Findlaw, “Timing and Unaware Fathers“, December 17, 2014