Simply being the biological father of a child does not give a man the right to object or consent to that child's adoption by someone else. If the parents aren't married, the father needs to establish his paternity as well as show a commitment to parenting the child prior to when the adoption is sought. It's best for an unmarried father to do both as early as possible, even before the child is born, in order to have a legal say in the child's future.

Establishing Paternity and Committing to Parenting

This may involve acknowledging paternity of the child. It may require having DNA testing done to establish paternity.

Commitment to parenting can be done before the child is born by paying for prenatal and birth expenses. Many women decide before the child is born to put him or her up for adoption. Therefore, this may be the only type of commitment to parenting a man can show if the mother intends to give the child to other parents at birth.

Meeting these conditions may not necessarily be enough. If a father has been determined to have alcohol or drug problems, he may still not be allowed to object to the adoption of his child.

What if a Man Doesn't Know He's a Father?

Of course, in many cases, men aren't even aware that they've gotten a woman pregnant, and that woman may decide to give the child up for adoption without informing the father of the pregnancy. State laws vary on how long a man has, either from the beginning of the pregnancy or from the child's birth, to object to adoption. The decision to allow a man a say in the matter may depend on why he wasn't aware of the pregnancy.

If a man wants to object to adoption of his child, he needs to file an objection either with the court or the health and human services department in his state, depending on the law. Often, he must also state that he wants custody of the child. A family law attorney experienced with adoption law in your state can provide guidance.