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What are My Rights as a Father?

As the father of a child, you have the same rights as the mother in the adoption process. You have the right to have a say in whether your child is placed for adoption, as well as what method of adoption is used and, if you and the mother choose a private adoption, who the adoptive parents will be.

Rights of Washington Birth Fathers

A skilled attorney can help make sure your rights are respected and that your concerns are addressed if you and/or the mother of a child or expected child are considering placing the child for adoption in a loving home. Joyce Schwensen is a Washington adoption lawyer and the former executive director of an adoption agency. She has worked in the field of adoption for over fifteen years and has helped many people who have been involved in adoption decisions.

Joyce Schwensen works with birth parents across Washington State, including Seattle, Vancouver, Spokane and Tacoma.


Info on the Right of Birth Fathers in Adoption


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Right to Consent to Adoption

If you are married to the mother of your child at the time your baby is born, or if your baby is born within 300 days after you obtain a divorce, then the law presumes you are the father and your consent is required for an adoption to be completed, unless the adopting family proves that you are an unfit parent. If you are not married to the mother of your child, then you may need to assert your claim as the child’s father in order to make sure that an adoption cannot take place without your consent.

If you decide not to consent to the adoption, you and the child’s mother will need to work out custody and financial responsibilities. It is not possible for one of you to be a single parent and just agree that the other parent will not seek visitation or child support. The law requires that both parents share responsibility for the child or both parents agree to allow the child to be adopted.

Your decision about adoption could impact you for the rest of your life. If you are considering adoption for your child, or if the mother of your child is asking you to consider adoption, it is important for you to obtain legal advice in order to help you make the best decision for yourself and your child.


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Right to Choose Open Adoption

If you and the mother of your child both decide to consent to an adoption, you may be able to have an open adoption. An open adoption is one in which the birth parent maintains a relationship with the child after the adoption is completed. The relationship can range from receiving updates on the child’s progress from the adoptive parents to exchanging cards and letters to phone calls and visits. The adoptive parents must be comfortable with the arrangement.

It is your choice, as a father, whether to seek an open adoption. You may choose an open or closed adoption for yourself, regardless of what the birth mother decides about whether she wants to have ongoing contact with the child after the adoption.


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Right to Have a Role in Choosing Adoptive Parents

In an independent adoption, the birth parents are able to select adoptive parents for their child. An independent adoption gives birth parents the option of seeking parents who share their heritage, religious beliefs, values, and interests.

If you and the mother agree to pursue an independent adoption, you can help choose an adoptive family for your child.¬† Your attorney can assist you with finding the right family and making sure the adoption is completed correctly, and that your rights as the child’s father are protected.


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Washington Lawyer Protecting Rights of Birth Fathers in Adoption

If you are an expecting father or recent father and you or your child’s mother are considering placing your child for adoption, an experienced adoption attorney can help you. ¬†Joyce Schwensen is an skilled Washington adoption lawyer who helps birth parents with the important decision whether to place their child for adoption, and help find loving homes for the families who decide that adoption is the right choice for them. Call (206) 367-1065 today to set up a free consultation.

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