Birth Fathers

When you are faced with an unintended pregnancy, you and your partner have choices and decisions to make. If you are not ready, not willing, or unable to parent this baby, one of your options is adoption. Please contact us with any questions you may have, and explore the following FAQ to learn more about adoption:

Birth Father FAQ

Can a child born to undocumented parents be placed for adoption?

Yes, there is no requirement that the parents be legal residents as long as the baby was born in the United States. If the baby was not born in the United States, international adoption procedures would have to be completed not just Arizona’s procedures.

Can a father under 18 years of age independently sign legal documents (without consent of his parents) placing the child for adoption (consent to the adoption)?

Yes, a minor has the right to consent to the adoption of his child regardless of his age. The minor’s parents do not have to consent to the adoption.

Can the father change his mind after signing the legal consents to the adoption?

No, the father cannot change his mind about the adoption AFTER he has signed the consents (legal documents). In Arizona, once the consents are signed they are irrevocable (cannot be changed). The only exception would be if he could prove in a court of law that he signed under fraud, duress or undue influence. Having no funds to provide for the child or being in a bad living situation is not considered duress.

Can the father of the baby choose the adoptive parents?

If the father establishes paternity he has the same rights as the mother. He may participate in the selection of the family along with the mother. He also may participate even without paternity if the mother supports his involvement.

Does the father of the baby have to be notified of the birth and the mother’s adoption plan?

Yes, the mother is required to identify all potential fathers before an adoption can proceed. If she is married, the husband is notified that he has the same rights as the mother. If the father is not her husband the notice explains what he must do in order to have rights in the adoption decision.

How is the father of the baby notified of the mother’s adoption plan?

The Potential Father Notice is handed to any potential father who lives in Arizona, or it is sent certified mail if he lives out of state. The notice informs him he has been identified as a possible father of the child and outlines his rights and responsibilities. It states he may support the adoption plan, withhold support for the adoption plan and he may also seek custody of the child. In order to have any rights regarding the adoption, he has thirty (30) days from the time he is served notice to complete a paternity action and serve notice to the mother that he has done so. After that time period he cannot come back to claim interest in the baby, unless he can show he was unable to respond within 30 days. When this time has elapsed, and he has not established paternity, the adoption may proceed without his consent.

What happens if the husband (legal father) is not the biological father?

If the mother is married, her husband is considered the legal father even if he is not the biological father. He must consent to the adoption or his rights must be terminated in court UNLESS his paternity is excluded or another man’s paternity is established.

What happens if the mother does not know who the biological father is or does not know where he is?

The Potential Father Notice may be served by publication (i.e. published in the newspaper) but only after diligent efforts to locate him have been made to serve him in person. A diligent effort means actively trying to find the father by following up on all leads. The notice, including his name and the mother’s, is published once a week for four consecutive weeks. His thirty days within which he must complete a paternity action starts after the fourth and last publication. If the mother does not know the father’s name then the publication names him as John Doe.

What if the father is mentally ill or cognitively delayed?

Someone who can make an objective evaluation as to competency should do so prior to taking consents to adoption. That could be a mental health professional. If the parent has a guardian assigned for this reason, the guardian would need to sign consents on his behalf.

What rights do birth grandparents have in their child’s decision to place a child for adoption?

In Arizona, grandparents have no legal rights regarding their child’s voluntary decision to place a child for adoption. If the grandparents want to adopt the baby, the birth parents (whether minor or adult) must agree. The mother is required only to notify the father of the baby if she is planning an adoption. If ICWA applies, the Indian Nation must also be notified, by the person/agency facilitating the adoption, and birth grandparents do have rights under the placement preference guidelines.