Fathers’ Rights In Stepparent Adoptions

The most frustrating part of the stepparent adoption process sometimes is understanding the rights of the absent biological parent, especially when the mother and father were never married.

Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on what side of the adoption you are on), absent parents who were not married still have rights to their children and those rights are not taken away because they abandon their children.

Here are few scenarios to explain unmarried fathers’ rights in stepparent adoptions in Nebraska:

Scenario 1: The father is listed on the birth certificate.  

If the father’s name is listed on the child’s birth certificate, there are two steps that will need to be taken for a stepparent adoption. The first step is to notify him of the adoption through your adoption lawyer. The second step is to obtain his agreement to the adoption in some cases. If the absent father does not agree to the adoption, in some cases, the stepparent adoption can still be completed without his agreement.  In those cases, one can try to prove that he has abandoned the child for at least six months before the petition was filed, or that he is unfit parent, or that he did not provide any financial support to the mother or the child after having knowledge of the pregnancy, or any other reasons allowed by Nebraska adoption laws.

Scenario 2: The father is not listed on the birth certificate.  

If the absent biological father is not listed on the child’s birth certificate, he will still need to be notified of the adoption. As Nebraska law currently stands, once he is notified of the adoption, he is given five business days from the date he receives the notice of adoption to give his answer. If he doesn’t agree with the adoption, Nebraska adoption laws allow him to file documentation with the Department of Health and Human Services. After five business days have passed, if he does not respond, the law automatically terminates his rights. At that point, the stepparent adoption can be completed without his agreement.

If you’re ready to start your stepparent adoption, click here to schedule your free call and let us help you get started!