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Can the Birth Father Block an Adoption in Texas?

 Posted on October 24, 2023 in Family Law

San Antonio family lawyerIn Texas adoptions, the birth father’s legal rights heavily influence his ability to contest and potentially block an adoption. The specific laws can vary depending on whether the birth father was married or unmarried to the birth mother. Understanding the differences is vital. A Texas lawyer can help you figure out your rights.

Rights of Married Birth Fathers

If a child is born to legally married parents in Texas, consent of both the mother and father is required for adoption to proceed. However, there are potential grounds for terminating a married father’s parental rights against his wishes, such as:

  • Abandonment of the child for over six months
  • Child or spousal abuse and family violence criminal convictions
  • Failure to support the child financially as obligated

If the married father contests the adoption, a family law attorney can review the situation to determine if legally sufficient grounds exist to terminate his parental rights without consent.

Rights of Unmarried Birth Fathers

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the father must take prompt legal steps to establish his parental rights and earn consent privileges. These actions include the following:

  • Registering with the Texas Putative Father Registry within 31 days of the child’s birth
  • Immediately beginning to provide prenatal and child support
  • Establishing an ongoing parent-child relationship early on

Failure to formally establish paternity and shirk parental duties early forfeits an unmarried father’s ability to block adoption by withholding consent.

Contesting a Proposed Adoption

If the birth father does obtain full consent rights per Texas law, he then can contest a proposed adoption. Potential grounds for contesting include lack of proper service or notice to the father and consent obtained through fraud or duress.

In contested cases, an attorney can build arguments against termination of the father’s rights without valid grounds, while also making a case for awarding him custody.

Alternatively, the adoption agency may elect to pursue termination of an unmarried father’s rights through court action, allowing the adoption to proceed without his consent if successful. Or the agency could work to secure his voluntary consent, which protects the father’s rights. Securing consent often involves mediation of a mutually acceptable adoption plan and allowing communication or visitation agreements.

Contact a San Antonio, TX Family Lawyer

Whether you are the father or if you are the mother looking to proceed with adoption, you deserve to know your rights. Contact a Bexar County, TX family law attorney to find out what the next step you should take is. Call Brandon Wong & Associates at 210-201-3832 to see what options you may have.

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