Birth Father Rights in Idaho & Utah
When it comes to local adoption agencies, many people are probably unaware of the process regarding the surrendering of birth parents’ rights. In many states, it is required for both birth mother and birth father to be part of the process and give their consent of termination. However, within the two states associated with Forever Bound Adoption; Idaho and Utah, this is not the case. In cases of Idaho adoption, when a birth mother is unwed, she can terminate her rights without contacting the birth father. Similarly, in Utah adoption cases, a birth father, after having sexual relations with a woman, is on notice that there could be a potential pregnancy, therefore does not have to be notified by the birth mother. Recently an article was published discussing a young father who was not aware of the mother being pregnant or that she had chosen to place the baby up for adoption until after the child was already placed (Johnson, B. 2021). This raised the question as to how this is fair treatment of birth father rights and why they are not required to be involved in this process within certain states.
For many mothers choosing adoption, this is a very difficult decision. Mothers in this situation may not be in a position of knowing who the birth father is or feel safe in letting them know they are pregnant. Due to this so often being the case, both Idaho adoption and Utah adoption does not require birth father consent. The health and safety of the birth mother and the baby have contributed to these laws of not requiring the alleged father’s interaction.
However, birth fathers who do wish to, have options. Idaho has a putative father registry that allows men to claim the paternity of children born outside of marriage. He also may claim the right to be notified of any adoption proceedings by filing with the vital Statistics Unit of the Department of Health and Welfare. Utah also provides a putative father registry, and the father must file a paternity action, file with the state registry, and pay a portion of the birthmother’s pregnancy and childbirth expenses before the birth mother signs or he loses all rights (adoptive families, 2014). In these processes the alleged father is responsible to be forthcoming and honest with accurate and thorough information. If the father does not file and register before the birth mother files a proceeding to terminate her paternal rights, the father is then deemed to have surrendered any right to the child (American adoptions, n.d.). If paternity is established and the father does not relinquish his rights, he will have financial responsibilities for the child.
In doing so, Idaho adoption and Utah adoption laws have recognized the importance of protecting and keeping mothers safe in cases where the father is uninvolved, unknown, or unsupportive, while still allowing fathers that want to be involved the opportunity to have a say. Birth mothers have an opportunity to get an adoption counselor or attorney to handle birth father interactions in instances where she and the baby may be in danger.
For more information regarding adoption service, Idaho adoption and Utah infant adoption, please contact Forever Bound Adoption at 801-821-1354.