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Unmarried fathers seek changes to protect their parental rights

Some unmarried fathers in Texas and elsewhere are calling for the U.S. Supreme Court and federal and state legislators to revisit the due process rights of biological fathers. They believe that the current putative father registry that is mostly state-based would be more efficient if it is a national system that is well designed and widely publicized. Many fathers contend that they want their parental rights to include more than just financial obligations.

In some cases of children born to unmarried parents, there may be discord between the biological parents, and mothers sometimes decide not to inform the biological father of the pregnancy. A man who suspects that a woman is carrying his biological child may register with the putative father registry. When a child is born to an unmarried mother, the registry must be checked, and the putative father must be advised. He must also be notified of any adoption procedures are set in action.

Current stumbling blocks include the non-transparency of the state system and the fact that many fathers are unaware of the putative father registry system. This is because it is not well publicized and offers a limited time for acknowledgment and action to be taken. The biological father may be unaware of the pregnancy, and by the time he learns of it, the time limits may restrict action. The mobility of mothers and their babies enable them to travel to other states and arrange adoptions that will not be recorded in the state in which the father registered on the putative father system. A nationwide registry database may ensure a father will be advised if the baby is born or an adoption is arranged in another state.

This is an extremely complicated part of family law, and being proactive may ensure the parental rights of unmarried fathers. Experienced family law attorneys are at the service of fathers in Texas who want to be a part of their children's lives. A lawyer can protect the father's rights and may demonstrate to the court that it will be in the best interest of the child not to terminate the parental rights of the father.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Are Biological Fathers Receiving Appropriate Due Process When Their Parental Rights Are Terminated?", Brad Reid, July 21, 2015

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