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When someone can adopt a child without the father’s consent

A person who would like to adopt a child in Texas must first have the consent of the parents in most cases, whether it is stepparent adoption, private adoption or through the foster care system. 

However, Texas law may not give a father a voice in the matter in some situations. 

No paternity established

According to the Texas Attorney General, when the mother of a child is not married, Texas law does not assume paternity. The biological father must prove his connection to the child before the law acknowledges him as a parent and allows him to have paternal rights. The father can do this with an Acknowledgement of Paternity document or by taking a paternity test. 

When there is no legal father, the mother has the right to give the child up for adoption or allow a spouse to adopt the child without the father’s consent. 

Parental rights terminated

Texas Statutes note that the state may terminate a father’s rights under certain circumstances: 

  • Abandonment of the child, whether the father states the intention to abandon or fails to interact with the child for six months or more 
  • Abandonment of the mother during pregnancy 
  • Endangerment 
  • Failure to support 
  • Conviction of murder, sex offenses or another violent offense against a child 

In general, the courts may not consider the father to have abandoned the child or the child’s mother if he provides adequate support during his absence, or if he returns within three to six months and begins supporting the child. The court is ultimately the authority that determines whether to terminate rights. 

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