What does “alleged father” mean and why does it matter?

Posted on: June 13th 2011

If you are pregnant and considering adoption, you are probably trying to understand how the father fits into this. There term “alleged father” is important to understand.

You may have these types of questions:

  • What is an “alleged father”?
  • Is there a difference between an alleged father and a presumed father?
  • What rights does the alleged father have?
  • I’m still confused…what do I do?

What is an “alleged father”?

An “alleged father” is a man who could be the father of a child.  His paternity has not been proven.  Paternity is proven with a paternity test.  The term “alleged father” is used specifically under California law.  Every state has their own definition of this type of potential father.  Many use the term “putative” father.

What is the difference between an alleged father and a presumed father?

A “presumed” father is the legal father of the child.  He is married to the birth mother, or his name is on the baby’s birth certificate.  A presumed father has more legal rights than an alleged father.  

Terminating all potential fathers’ rights is critical in any adoption.  This is true even if the birth mother doesn’t know who the father is, where he lives, or how to get in touch with  him.

What rights does the alleged father have?

Here are some things to note about an alleged father’s rights under California law:

  • An alleged father does not have an automatic right to custody, but
  • Is entitled to notice that he is possibly the father of the child.  The notice also states that the child is involved in an adoption proceeding.  This includes a child that is born or is due to be born.
  • He has 30 days after service of the Notice or the birth of the baby, whichever is latest, to file an action to stop the adoption.  
  • Under California law, an alleged father can sign a “Waiver of the Right to Further Notice of Adoption Planning.”  This form must be notarized or witnessed by an Adoption Service Provider.
  • This form does not terminate his rights, but
  • It is the basis for terminating his rights.  
  • He must initiate a legal action if he wishes to rescind his Waiver.

I am still confused about the alleged father…what do I do?

We will handle everything for you.  You  don’t have to contact the father if you don’t want to.   The process can be very complicated and be overwhelming. Feel free to contact me with questions. I’m happy to help.