Unplanned pregnancies happen and mothers are not always ready to take care of children. One option that many consider is adoption. However, this can be difficult when both parents do not agree. In this situation, it’s important that fathers understand their rights.
Who is the father?
The first step to getting legal rights to your child if you are not married to the mother is to prove paternity. This most often happens through DNA testing. You should establish paternity as soon as you can so that you have time to assert your rights as a father.
The rights of the father
If a father is legally recognized to have paternity, their consent is required for the child to be adopted. However, Nebraska Statute 43-104.22 rules that fathers forfeit their right to consent to an adoption if:
- They are not a fit parent for the child
- They abandoned or neglected the child after knowing of the birth
- They did not provide support, both financial and other, after knowing of the birth or pregnancy
- They abandoned the mother without cause, while knowing of the child
- The conception was not consensual or was incestual
- The Notice of Object to Adoption and Intent to Obtain Custody were not filed properly, or did not make other legal objections
- They relinquish consent to the adoption
- They are not the biological father
If you are seeking a relationship with your child but the mother wants adoption, you need to act quickly. Establish paternity and talk to an attorney who knows how to help you assert your rights. The father-child relationship is important, so fight for them while you can.