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Adoption Consent When Paternity is Not Established

Adoption Consent When Paternity is Not Established


Making the decision to adopt a child or put your child up for adoption is a life-changing moment. The process for how to legally adopt a child is governed by Indiana law which provides guidance in a variety of circumstances. In general, both biological mother and father must consent to the adoption of a minor child before a court will grant the adoption. However, there are exceptions for when consent is required, specifically if paternity has not been established.

At the time of a child’s birth, if the child is born outside of a marriage, generally, the parents of the child will sign a paternity affidavit to signify the paternity of the child in the father. To legally establish paternity, the parties then enter into a court proceeding on paternity to establish custody, parenting time, and child support. When paternity has not been established, Indiana law says that consent may not be required prior to adoption. Consent is not required from the biological father of a child born out of wedlock whose paternity has not been established by a court proceeding, other than an adoption proceeding, or by executing a paternity affidavit. The consent of a putative father (or a person presumed to be the father of a child) is implied if the putative father (1) fails to file a paternity action within fifteen (15) days of receiving actual notice of adoption; or (2) files a paternity action withing fifteen (15) days of notice but fails to establish paternity in that action.

Whether or not the putative father’s consent is required, notice of the adoption must always be given to the putative father. If the child has not yet been born, sometime before the birth of the child and the final adoption either a (1) licensed child placing agency, (2) an attorney representing adoptive parents, or (3) an attorney representing the mother of the child must serve the putative father with actual notice of the adoption proceedings.

In addition to notice and consent, Indiana also has a putative father registry. Putative fathers may register for the putative father registry and as a result, will receive notice of any adoption proceedings filed. Even if a putative father is registered and has received notice, he must file a paternity action or sign a paternity affidavit before he can object to the adoption of the child.

If you need assistance navigating the adoption process in Indiana, McNeelyLaw has family law attorneys ready to assist you during this stressful time. Contact us at 317-825-5110 to speak with an attorney today.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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