Many steps must be taken when it comes to completing a legal adoption, and one of these is a search on the Putative Father Registry. However, not many individuals know what a putative father is and why this individual has a right to step into an adoption proceeding.

That being said, searching for a putative father is an important step in finalizing a legal adoption. Not following the proper procedure can keep an adoption from being successful and can also harm a father who has absolutely no idea that a child of his exists.

What Is the Putative Father Registry?

The term “putative father” refers to a man whose legal relationship to the child is not fully established. However, the man either claims to be the biological father or is alleged to be the father to a child born to a woman he was not married to at the time of the child’s birth.

The purpose of the Putative Father Registry is to protect the rights of these alleged fathers who may be unaware of the existence of their children in the event an adoption later occurs. This registry keeps the putative father’s rights from being terminated in the event an adoption occurs.

The father must register within a certain period of time if he has concerns that a child was conceived out of a sexual relationship. This registration then goes on the Putative Father Registry.

Putative fathers are able to complete these forms through the Department of Health Services, the office of the clerk of the board of supervisors in every Arizona county, every hospital, licensed child placement agency, the department of child safety, jails, prisons, department of correction facilities, department of economic security, or department of juvenile corrections facilities.

How Does the Putative Father Registry Work?

If the father is fairly certain that a child was conceived, he may file a notice of a claim of paternity before the child is even born. However, he only has 30 days from after the child was born to file this notice of claim of paternity. This notice will be signed by the putative father and will include his contact information, as well as the last known address of the birth mother and the probable month and year of the child’s birth.

It is extremely important that the father notify the registrar of vital statistics of any later change of address. This information is kept confidential, but if a father is not known, any adoption agency or adoption attorney must make a written inquiry of the registry to ensure no “putative father” exists. If he does, the father must be notified.

Once a putative father registers, he will receive notification of any adoption proceedings that affect the mother he lists on the registration. He has the right to seek paternity once alerted of the child’s existence and has the right to declare his willingness to support the child with the state registrar of vital statistics.

If an official request was made of the registry and no putative father is found, the adoption agency or attorney will receive a certificate stating that no father was located. This certificate will be required for the adoption to be finalized.

What If the Father Is Not the Father?

If a putative father steps up and claims to be the father of a child, but the court determines that this man is not the child’s father, the court must notify the department of health services and order that person’s name to be removed from the putative father registry.

If You Are Thinking Adoption, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand just how stressful the adoption process can be. We’re here to help you find the path to adoption that’s right for you. Every adoption is as unique as the adoptive parents themselves, but the journey doesn’t have to be harrowing.

We specialize in Arizona adoption law, and we have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help you welcome your child into your loving home. Contact us at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.