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What is the Putative Father Registry and How Does It Work?

While mothers who have children out of wedlock have automatic legal rights, the same is not the case for the fathers of those children. When a child is born out of wedlock, the mother has the only legal rights to the child, along with the right to make all of the decisions about the child’s medical care and even the right to give the child up for adoption if she chooses. Fortunately, however, the law does provide a way for the father of an out-of-wedlock child to receive notice about any intended adoption, which will give him the opportunity to challenge the adoption.

Florida’s Putative Father Registry

The purpose of the putative father registry is to protect the rights of the father of a child who is born out of wedlock. By registering with the putative father registry, the father can help ensure that he is notified if the mother of the child tries to put the child up for adoption. When he receives notice of the adoption, the father then can decide whether to agree to or contest the adoption. This gives the father the opportunity to establish paternity and pursue his legal rights to the child before an adoption occurs without his knowledge. The putative father registry is confidential; only adoption entities dealing with the child in question, the family court, the child’s birth mother, and the putative father can get information on the registry.

Filing With the Putative Father Registry

Any man who believes that he is the father of a child born out of wedlock can make a claim of paternity with the Florida putative father registry. The alleged father can register at any time prior to the child’s birth. However, the man cannot register after the date that a petition for termination of parental rights is filed with the court. A man who believes that he is the child’s father can fill out the forms online and submit them, along with a $9.00 fee, to the Florida putative father registry, which is a part of the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Additionally, if the man later needs to update his information with the registry, or to file a revocation of his claim of paternity, he can do so prior to the child’s birth.

How a Putative Father Receives Notice

If anyone files court proceedings for an adoption of the child or to terminate parental rights, any putative father listed on the putative father registry will receive notice of the proceedings. This notice gives the putative father the chance to pursue paternity and legal rights to the child, if he wishes to do so. This process allows the putative father the opportunity to participate in the legal proceedings with respect to the child, before it is too late and an adoption or termination of parental rights already has occurred.

Your Experienced Family Law Advocates Are Here for You

Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, provides comprehensive legal representation to individuals who are facing divorces, paternity cases, prenuptial agreements and any other type of family law-related matter. No matter what your situation may be, and whether it involves a prenuptial agreement, alimony, parental time-sharing, or another family law issue, we are here to help you through this often complex process. Contact our office today by calling 954-800-2362 or filling out the online form located online.