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Is a father's consent needed before adopting a child??

There are many reasons why people decide to adopt children in North Carolina. It could be because they cannot have children of their own or they could want to give children a loving family who might otherwise not have one without adoption. Likewise, there are many different reasons why people decide to give their children up for adoption. While there are plenty of families looking to adopt and many children waiting to be adopted, there is still a lengthy legal process both must go through before an adoption can be completed.

One of the first legal hurdles to get over is getting both biological parents to consent to the adoption. The easiest way is for the parents to sign a consent or relinquishment, or for fathers to enter a denial of paternity if the father is not married to the mother. However, fathers, like mothers, do have rights, and an adoption cannot occur without a consent of some kind or a court order addressing those rights.

In order to ensure that the biological father is notified prior to an adoption, the mother must fill out an affidavit of parentage which states who the father is and his address, or it must state that the address is unknown. If the father does not consent to adoption, his rights must be terminated prior to an adoption. Alternatively, he must not respond to after being served with an adoption petition.

The termination proceeding is separate from the adoption itself. This can be initiated either by the adoption agency or the county in which the mother lives.

Many people wish to adopt children in North Carolina, but before the adoption can occur it must go through the legal process. This starts with either the biological father consenting to the adoption or his rights being terminated, which can be challenging in its own right. That is just the start of the process, though. Experienced attorneys understand this process and may be able to guide one through it.

Source: University of North Carolina, "A Guide to Adoption Law for North Carolina Birth Mothers" accessed on May 22, 2017

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