In Missouri, it could happen. It has happened. A man is dealing with just that circumstance after he found out that his daughter, who is only three-years-old, was adopted by the girl’s maternal great-grandparents. In most cases, a father would have a right to object to such a transaction, but because he lacked legal documentation of his paternity, it was possible for the mother to set up the adoption without his knowledge or consent.
Fathers who are not married to the mothers of their children, and who wish to be involved in their children’s lives, should enter their names on Missouri’s Putative Fathers Registry.
Being on this list would have alerted him to the mother’s intention to give the child up in an adoption proceeding. Missouri has an online link to the registry, but it is important that a putative father not delay, as your name needs to be on the list within 15 days of the birth of the child.
Unfortunately, now he is faced with additional expensive and complex litigation in an effort to have a judge reverse the adoption and he will then have to commence formal custody proceedings.
He had worked out an informal deal with the mother to pay child support and have custody, but without formal paternity documents or his name on the putative father registry, the mother could still place the child for adoption without his consent.
This case is a reminder of the danger of informal agreements regarding custody of your children. If you have never married the mother of your child or children, it is essential that you have the valid legal documentation of your paternity to prevent adoptions like this from occurring.
Source: kcty5.com, “Independence father denied custody after loophole adoption,” by Chris Oberholtz, Amanda Palumbo, and Angie Ricono, January 28, 2016