Houston Law Review
This article examines the rights of unwed fathers as they relate to the adoption process. The author first reviews the history of the rights of unwed or putative fathers by discussing common law treatment of unwed fathers' rights and recent treatment of these fathers' rights by the U.S. Supreme Court. Although these cases demonstrate that putative fathers who take an interest in their child and participate in the child's care and support are given protection, the Supreme Court has failed to establish an effective legal doctrine on the rights of unwed fathers. The author continues by comparing State statutory treatment of the unwed biological father and discussing uniform legislation on adoption, including the Uniform Adoption Act and the Uniform Parentage Act. She then makes recommendations for improving adoption proceedings involving putative fathers, including preregistering putative fathers with the State to protect their parental interests, inquiring about the father's interest in a child when the mother wants to relinquish her newborn, and decreasing the time period that States give a biological father to establish his parental rights before terminating them. The author concludes that courts should make reasonable, good faith efforts to grant a father his parental rights but should terminate his rights if he fails to meet his parental obligations. 191 references.
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