The Putative Father Registry is something that many people don’t know much about. It can be difficult to understand and find state-specific information. Because the rules, guidelines, and regulations can vary by state, there isn’t one authoritative answer or explanation of how it will affect your life, what the requirements are, or what the process is. The basics are generally similar; let’s start there.

What is a Putative Father Registry? Who is it for?

A Putative Father registry is a type of a public potential fathers’ registry. The United States’ Department of Vital Records may maintain the records. This registry allows any unmarried man, who believes that he is a father, to register his information. When the alleged father records his information with a Putative Father Registry, he is taking financial responsibility for the child. In its simplest form, it is a claim of possible paternity.

Who is a putative father?

A putative father is a potential father. This man was not married to the child’s mother before the child was born. And, his relationship as the father has not yet been established by legal proceedings.

What is the purpose of the Putative Father Registry?

One of the purposes of the Putative Father Registry is that the father may be able to object to adoption placement. Keep in mind that there are eligibility requirements, and those requirements can vary by state. It also enables the government to inform the father of possible parental rights termination. It essentially protects the parental rights of the father, making it easier to find him before the termination is complete. This is also a resource that adoption professionals or petitioners use to easily find missing putative fathers.

What can happen if you don’t register?

If you’re not registered within 30 days after the birth of your child, you may not be informed of a pending adoption. Therefore, you won’t be able to use your parental rights in halting it. You also have 30 days from when you register to establish your paternity through qualified legal proceedings.

What information will they ask for?

Every state varies, but most participating states ask for your name, social security number, birth date, and address. All of this information is necessary to easily and accurately inform you of any pending adoptions or possible terminations of parental rights.

Which states do not have a Putative Father Registry?

Remember that all of the below information is subject to change. Here is the list of states that do not have a Putative Father Registry:

Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

If you’d like additional information about the Putative Father Registry, here is a list of viable and important resources for you to reference.

Putative Father Registry Definition

State Putative Father Registries

The Rights of Presumed (Putative) Fathers: Summary of State Laws

Statutes at a Glance

Additional and state-specific information can be found through’s search bar in the upper right-hand corner of most pages. Just type in “Putative Father Registry” and the state you’re researching.