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Do fathers' parental rights allow them to stop adoptions?

When children are born to unmarried parents, paternity must be established legally in Texas in order for the children's fathers to have legal rights to those children. While some fathers ensure that this is done right away by signing an acknowledgement of paternity, fathers who are unaware of their children's births do not have this option, nor do fathers whose children's mothers refuse to sign paternity documents. What happens when fathers have not yet established paternity and want to exercise their parental rights to prevent their children from being put up for adoption?

To prevent adoption, paternity has to first be established, and the father will have to demonstrate support and commitment to the child. Paternity can be established by both parents acknowledging the father as the biological father. However, in some cases the mothers may deny the fathers' claims of paternity, and other actions will have to be taken by the fathers. DNA testing is one common way to establish paternity in Texas. 

Once paternity has been established, a father will have to show that he is employed and financially able to support the child and not dependent on drugs or alcohol while playing a meaningful parental role. A father who takes steps to obtain legal recognition as a biological father as soon as possible will have a much better chance of preventing an adoption. If a mother indicates a wish to give the child up for adoption, the father will not be allowed to file an objection if paternity has not been established.

Texas fathers who want to prevent their children from being given up for adoption may benefit from the support and guidance of experienced attorneys who can inform them of their parental rights. A father whose paternity status has been confirmed will have to file an objection with the court. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the court may require the father to indicate his intent to seek child custody within a prescribed time period.

Source: FindLaw, "Parental Rights: Unmarried Fathers and Adoption", Accessed on April 28, 2015

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