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I May Be A Father – Can I Contest the Baby’s Adoption?

I May Be A Father – Can I Contest the Baby’s Adoption?

In recent months, legal and adoption experts have continued to lobby for a national registry protecting the rights of unmarried fathers in interstate adoption cases.

In Ohio, prospective adopters take a baby home once the biological mother has signed surrender forms, as early as 72-hours after the birth. Theoretically, each parent has 30 days after surrender to contest the adoption. Under Ohio’s adoption laws, the baby is not actually adopted until at least six months have passed. If you believe you may have fathered a child who has been placed for adoption, an experienced family lawyer can help you navigate the situation and try to block the adoption.

Discovering an imminent adoption

If you believe you have fathered a child, you can preserve your right to contest the child’s adoption by registering with the Ohio Putative Father Registry (OPFR). The OPFR is an Ohio government-maintained database which allows “putative fathers” to be notified if the child is placed for adoption.

Who qualifies as a putative father?

In Ohio, a putative father is a man who may be a child’s father, and who satisfies one of the following:

  • He is not married to the child’s mother at the time she falls pregnant or when the child is born
  • He has not established paternity in an Ohio or out of state court or administrative agency proceeding before the adoption date
  • He has not signed an affidavit acknowledging paternity before the filing of the child’s adoption petition

A putative father must register with the OPFR in Ohio no later than 30 days after the child’s birth.

To be informed of an imminent adoption, putative fathers must register in the state where they live, in the state where the child’s mother lives and any state she may visit. This may not be straightforward, with formalities differing from state to state. Some states have shorter windows for registration, while others like Missouri and Idaho place an additional burden on putative fathers to file a court action to be allowed to contest the adoption.

If you believe you have fathered a child and are concerned about losing your child to adoption, contact empathic and skilled Dayton family lawyers at Fox and Associates CO., LPA to discuss the best way forward. 

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