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What are unmarried biological fathers' rights in adoptions?

When a married couple has a child, Florida law presumes that the husband is the father. That same presumption does not exist when the mother and father are not married. An unmarried father may already know that he needs to establish paternity in order to assert his fathers' rights. However, he may not know that it takes more than validating paternity to object to an adoption of his child.

In fact, establishing paternity is only the first step, which needs to be taken as soon after the birth as possible. Otherwise, the court may conclude that the biological father lacks the desired commitment to be a father. A show of commitment is required in order to attempt to block the adoption of his child. Claiming to have been unaware of the pregnancy and birth may not be sufficient, depending on the circumstances.

This commitment starts with the pregnancy. Helping with the mother's medical expenses, the expenses associated with the birth and financial supporting the child after birth may illustrate his commitment. If a biological father does what he can to be part of the child's life, that may be taken into consideration as well. Illustrating that a bond exists between the father and the child could help as well. It should be noted that a potential roadblock to objecting to an adoption is drug or alcohol abuse.

Even with the ever-increasing acknowledgement of fathers' rights here in Florida and elsewhere, objection to an adoption may not be an easy process. An unmarried father who wishes to take on this potentially contentious legal battle does not have to do so alone. It may be beneficial to seek out the guidance and assistance of a family law attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Parental Rights: Unmarried Fathers and Adoption", Accessed on July 23, 2017

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