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Does a baby's birth father have to consent to the adoption

A woman considering adoption for her child might wonder, “Can their father stop the adoption?” While the answer is not exactly black and white, Florida law provides a few guidelines that can help.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about acquiring consent from a birth father for adoption.

When do I need the father’s consent?

An adoption always involves terminating the birth parents’ parental rights. In Florida, the law requires written consent from the child’s father if:

  • The child was born or conceived while the father was married to the child’s mother
  • A court has previously decided that he is this child’s father
  • He filed to establish paternity before someone filed the petition to terminate parental rights

Unmarried biological fathers can choose to file a written acknowledgment with the state that they are a child’s father. If they have done so, their consent is required for the child to be adopted by someone else.

What if the father has established paternity?

A child’s biological father can object to adoption if they establish paternity. However, to do so, they must also demonstrate that they are committed to acting as a parent to that child.  A father might demonstrate this commitment by paying for expenses relating to the pregnancy or birth, or by paying to support the child.

What if the father doesn’t respond to a consent request?

Fathers have 60 days to respond to a request for consent to terminate their parental rights. If they fail to respond in writing within that time, the adoption can proceed.

Anyone considering placing their child with an adoptive family can benefit from the guidance of an experienced adoption attorney. They can help you determine whether consent from your child’s father is necessary, and how to get it.

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