This depends on a few things. If you are married, your legal husband has the rights to the child whether he is the biological father or not. He must be notified. He may or may not give his consent to the adoption, but he has the right to be notified. Every state has different birth father laws and the laws in the state which he resides must be followed. In Utah, the expectant mother has the right to privacy and can choose whether or not she discloses the name of the biological father. Children’s Service Society will conduct a Putative Father Search to ensure that if the birth father has claimed paternity, his rights are protected. Children’s Service Society will work with you and ensure that all legal requirements are met throughout your experience. We believe every child has the right to know their invaluable medical and social information from both birth parents so we strive to involve both birth parents in this very important decision. Your counselor can help you discuss all of your options with the father.
If you are a father:
According to Utah law (78B-6-102), an unmarried mother has a right to privacy with regard to her pregnancy and an adoption plan, and has no legal obligation to disclose the identity of the biological father before or during an adoption. However, Children’s Service Society feels that it is best practice to include the expectant (birth) father in an adoption plan whenever this is possible. Our options counselors are happy to facilitate counseling with him as well as a birth mother. A birth father’s involvement in an adoption plan not only makes the adoption legally secure, but input on his medical history and his feelings about the child and the adoption is extremely valuable to the adoptive parents, and to the adoptee once they are grown.
If you are an unmarried man and want to have a legal claim in what happens to your unborn child, it is your responsibility to file for paternity for the child with the Utah Department of Health Office of Vital Records. Information and instructions for claiming paternity can be found here. Filing for paternity is not the only step you need to take, however. It is also your legal obligation to demonstrate a timely and full commitment to the responsibility of parenthood, both during the pregnancy and after a child’s birth. This could include such things as paying for medical bills and being a physical and emotional support to the mother during pregnancy. For more complete information about your legal rights, please contact an attorney who specializes in paternity issues or adoption.
For additional information, please visit the Paternity Matters website at http://www.paternitymatters.utah.gov/