Putative Father (Glossary)

Putative Father: Also known as an "assumed father," the putative father is a man who believes he might be the father of a child or a man who is believed to be the father of a child, yet nothing has been completed in order to prove that he, in fact, is the biological father of the child in question.

Once it has been proven that the man is, in fact, the biological father of the child, he then is referred to as the biological father or if the child has been placed in an adoption situation, a birth father.

The rates of births to unmarried women continue to increase during the years leaving many children born without the knowledge of the father or with questions as to whom the father is. Within the last few years, more and more putative fathers have come forward demanding the rights that they have over these children. In the past, the rights of the fathers were overlooked more than they are now. In fact, many states have enacted putative father registries so that men can register their information in case a child that they fathered is born and has been placed for adoption by the birth mother. Unfortunately, if the putative father does not register, there is a chance that their biological child might be placed for adoption without their knowledge.

In most states, the father of the child that is being placed for adoption must be given the opportunity to have custody of the child, consent to the adoption or be in risk of having his rights terminated if he does not wish to gain custody or consent to the adoption.

Although the Supreme Court has agreed that the biological father has rights, each state has yet to conform to any overall standard of how to protect those rights.

In most areas in the U.S. putative father registries have been created. These registries enable men to register and also allows the adoption agencies or mothers to file notice of a birth or notice of intent to make an adoption plan for a child. Laws vary by state on what information is available on the registries and how the registries work within the adoption plan.

The type of information found in putative father registry is all of the personal information about the putative father including his name, address, social security number and birth date. Also included is the child's name, date of birth or the approximate due date of the mother of the child and any other identifying information regarding the putative father. The people that are able to access this information would be the birth mother, a licensed adoption agency, the attorney, or any other government agency that is involved in the situation as well as state child support offices.