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Unmarried and unknown fathers can snag adoption process

Choosing to adopt a child in Louisiana is a major life decision that can bring joy and happiness to a family and a child in need of a family. As beneficial as the outcome of the process may be, there are many legal issues that must be properly addressed in order for an adoption to be successfully carried out. If these matters are not address, or are addressed inadequately, then an adoption may be delayed or even disallowed.

One circumstance where this can arise is when an unmarried biological father enters the picture. Typically, biological parents have to consent to an adoption (unless their parental rights are terminated), which may include unmarried fathers. However, before an unmarried father can raise a proper objection to an adoption of his child, he must establish paternity and demonstrate that he is committed to parenting his son or daughter.

So what about fathers who don't know that they have children? These men may find themselves out of luck. The adoption process requires that attempts be made to locate all fathers, which may include searching the putative father registry. If an unknown father is not located, then the court will likely have to terminate that unknown father's parental rights before adoption can occur.

This issue can rear its ugly head into what would otherwise be straight-forward adoptions. Louisiana families that are seeking adoption but have either located an unmarried father or are having trouble finding an unknown father, may want to speak with a legal professional about how best to approach the matter. Similarly, unmarried fathers who wish to object to the adoption of their child should take swift action to protect their legal rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Parental Rights: Unmarried Fathers and Adoption," accessed on Dec. 23, 2016

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