Under Oklahoma law, the person referred to as a "putative father" is a father of a child born out of wedlock or the father of a child whose mother was married to another person at the time of the birth of the child or within the ten (10) months prior to the birth of the child.  The term putative father includes a man who has acknowledged or claims paternity of a child, a man named by the mother to be the father of a child, or any man who is alleged to have been intimately involved with the mother of a child during a possible time of conception.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7501-1.3.  If you are a putative father seeking to protect your parental rights or seeking to assist in the adoption of your child, please contact us at the BULLEIGH LAW FIRM.
Oklahoma law places the burden upon the putative father to learn if a pregnancy resulted from a relationship with the birth mother.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7501-1.2.  A birth mother is under no obligation to inform the putative father of her pregnancy.  In fact, if a birth mother creates an adoption plan during her pregnancy, she is not required to serve the Notice of Plan for Adoption on the putative father.  If a putative father is served a Notice of Plan for Adoption, he must follow one of the options outlined in the notice.  If he fails to act upon the Notice of Plan for Adoption, his failure to act will be seen by a court as a denial of interest in asserting parental rights and will be sufficient grounds to terminate his parental rights.   See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7503-3.1.  Although a birth mother is not required to notify the putative father of her pregnancy, she cannot conceal or hide her pregnancy from the man who has fathered her child.  If the putative father makes sufficient attempts to learn of the pregnancy or makes sufficient attempts to exercise his parental rights toward the child, a court may require his consent for adoption and permit him to withhold his consent, if he so desires.   See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7505-4.2
Before the completion of any adoption, the putative father must be properly served with legal notice of the adoption proceedings, including any hearing to terminate his parental rights.  The putative father must be served with this notice by in-hand personal service or by certified mail with return receipt requested.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7503-3.1.   If the identity of the putative father is unknown or his whereabouts are unknown, the court may allow service by publication after conducting a hearing to determine if service by publication should be permitted.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7505-4.1 and 7505-4.3.
The biological father of a child being placed for adoption has certain legal rights which must be considered during the adoption process.  In order to protects these legal rights, a putative father must perform his parental responsibilities.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7505-4.2.  One way in which a putative father may act to protect his legal rights is to register with the Paternity Registry.  The Paternity Registry is a centralized registry of information intended to protect the parental rights of a putative father who wishes to assume responsibility for the children he may have fathered.  The Paternity Registry is also designed to expedite adoptions of those children whose biological fathers are unwilling to assume parental responsibility or otherwise acknowledge their children.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7506-1.1.  After registering with the Paternity Registry, a putative father may later revoke his intent to claim paternity.  A court may also remove a putative father's name if the court determines that he is not the biological father of the child at issue.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7506-1.2.
If a putative father desires to consent to the adoption, he may voluntarily relinquish his parental rights by signing an extrajudicial consent before a notary public.  Under certain circumstances, a putative father's parental rights may be terminated by a court or found to be unnecessary for adoption.  For more information regarding the termination of parental rights, please see our section on Termination of Parental Rights.
If the putative father is older than sixteen (16) years of age, he may sign all legal documents for adoption without the approval of a parent or guardian.  If the putative father is younger than sixteen (16) years of age, he must obtain the written consent of his parents, guardian or custodian before he can validly consent to the adoption.   See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7503-2.1.
After signing an extrajudicial consent before a notary, a putative father has fifteen (15) days to change his mind.  In order to properly revoke his consent, the putative father must file a notice of revocation and an intent to claim paternity, an acknowledgement of paternity, or a notice of his desire to receive notice of adoption proceedings or proceedings to terminate his parental rights, with the Paternity Registry.  The putative father must also provide a copy of these notices to the birth mother at the same time.   See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7503-2.6.  The putative father of a Native American child may change his mind at any time prior to the court's issuance of an order terminating his parental rights or prior to the entry of a final decree of adoption.  25 U.S.C. § 1913.  Under Oklahoma law, a putative father cannot place a child for adoption without the consent of the birth mother.  She must also consent to the adoption.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 7503-2.1
If you have any questions or believe that the  BULLEIGH LAW FIRM can be of service to you or someone you know, please do not hesistate to contact us
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