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Establishing paternity to facilitate adoption

Last week's blog discussed how unmarried fathers in Texas can assert their rights with regards to their children. As mentioned previously, there are various ways to establish paternity and the benefits include the ability to visit or share custody of children. One of the biggest parental benefit that comes with establishing paternity is the right to object or consent to adoption of the child.

Parents decide to give up their children for adoption for a variety of reasons and in so doing, can help others complete their families and fulfill their dream of parenthood. In order to begin the process of adoption, generally both biological parents must give their consent. In order to exercise this right, fathers must first establish their paternity through either a court order or acknowledgment of paternity form.

However, establishing paternity is simply the first step. The second that must be followed is demonstrating a commitment to parenting the child. If a father waits too long to establish paternity, it may end up demonstrating a lack of commitment and the father may end up having no say at all in the adoption proceedings. In order to prove a commitment to parenting, fathers must show that they can provide for their children's emotional and material needs. Meeting the mother's financial needs during the pregnancy, birth expenses and even child support expenses after the birth can show this.

Taking concrete steps to form a bond with children can go a long way in fulfilling the second legal requirement when it comes to exercising a father's right to object to adoption. In some states, right after objecting to the adoption, the father must show the intent to petition for custody of the child. In some states, fathers have as little as 30 days to do this. In order to ensure that one is doing the most they can to exert their legal rights, it may be beneficial to speak to an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Parental Rights: Unmarried Fathers and Adoption," Accessed Nov. 2, 2016

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