Passaic County Birth Father’s Rights
Contact Woodland Park family lawyers about your paternal and adoption rights today 973-233-4396
Giving consent allows a loving family to adopt
New Jersey adoptions generally require the consent of both biological parents. One of the first steps in the adoption procedure is for the biological parents to legally give their consent to the course of adoption for the child. The consent has the effect of relinquishing their parental rights over the child. If the birth father is participating and acknowledges the child, he must also give consent. In this article, I will explain the significance of securing Parental Consent and review paternal rights, including how paternity can be established.
What is parental consent?
Parental consent refers to the agreement by a parent (or a person or agency acting in place of a parent) to relinquish a child for adoption. Under NJ custody laws, giving consent means giving up (releasing) all rights and duties with respect to that child. It must be signed by the birth parent(s) and executed before a legally recognized authority. Prior to execution of consent, both the birth father and mother must be properly informed that they are relinquishing their parental rights, permanently ending the relationship.
In New Jersey, consent may not be given before a child is born. The birth parent(s) may give consent 72 hours after the baby’s birth to give their consent. If the child is at least 10 years old, he or she must attend the final adoption hearing. Typically, the judge will ask the child to express his or her wishes concerning the adoption.
Once it is given, consent is irrevocable. It can only be overturned if a court determines that the consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or misrepresentation by the approved agency or authority taking the consent.
Birth father’s rights in Passaic County adoptions
If an alleged birth father denies his paternity at any time, including prior to the baby’s birth, this is considered a surrender of his paternal rights for the purposes of allowing the child to be adopted.
Birth fathers who do not know of their children until after the fact can find themselves out of luck in regards to adoption decisions. In some states, the clock child begins ticking when the child is born (or even during pregnancy), not when the father learns about the child. Fatherhood (like motherhood), as the thinking goes, begins at the earliest moments. It is when a father should acknowledge paternity in both word an action and take real steps to start providing for the child. This would, of course, include giving care and support to the pregnant mother.
Courts have held that biological fathers who are unaware of their children may not object to the children’s adoption after the adoption has been finalized. Courts take the strongest stance to uphold the adoption when the birth father’s lack of knowledge was his own fault. Even so, the facts of each case will differ and be taken into consideration by the judge. To have the best chance of guaranteed input in adoption decisions, an unmarried father should not wait to learn about potential children. He should proactively seek out knowledge of any children he may have fathered and take all steps possible to establish a parental role.
Paternity of a Biological Father Wayne NJ
A man is presumed to be a child’s biological and birth father if he is, was, or attempted to be married to the child’s mother, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage ended. A man may also be presumed to be the child’s father if…:
• After the child’s birth, he and the mother married or attempted to marry each other, and he has acknowledged his paternity in writing, has sought to have his name placed on the child’s birth certificate, or is obligated to support the child by voluntary agreement or court order
• He receives the child into his home and openly claims the child as his own
• He provides support for the child and openly claims the child as his own
Paternity may also be established by:
• Proof that his paternity has been adjudicated under prior law
• A determination of paternity made by another state or jurisdiction
• A certificate of parentage executed by the birth father
• A court order, including those based on a genetic test
By proactively seeking to establish paternity, the birth father takes an important initial step in committing to help raise his child. Biological fathers should establish paternity as soon as possible; a family lawyer at The Montanari Law Group can advise and help you follow the appropriate procedures to establish your legal rights as a father.
Waiting too long can be seen by a judge as a lack of commitment to parent the child. Whenever possible, it is preferable to establish paternity before the birth of the child or as soon as the mother indicates during her pregnancy that she wants to put the child up for adoption.
Contact our Woodland Park family lawyers online or call us today at 973-233-4396
We have extensive experience in securing paternal adoptions and handling other paternity claims for birth fathers in Wayne, Paterson, Woodland Park and across Passaic County.