When a Woman Places Her Child for Adoption, Should the Father Have a Say?

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When an unmarried woman places her child up for adoption, how much say should the reputed father — or putative father, as they’re referred to legally — have?

Courts across the country have been grappling with this question. In Ohio, a man has been fighting to stop the finalization of his child’s adoption for more than a year. Several men in states across the country have been trying to stop the adoptions of their children in Utah, which is widely regarded as the most complicated state for putative fathers who want to claim parental rights. And two other cases have just been settled in Ohio, which gave the putative fathers more leeway than previously existed to stop adoptions.

Erik L. Smith is a paralegal who specializes in father's rights. He believes the process should be simpler for putative fathers who want to stop adoptions. He also successfully stopped his own son from being adopted seventeen years ago.

And Susan Garner Eisenman is an attorney specializing in adoption and child welfare law. She believes that there’s more to these cases than simply father’s rights.