A child's birth father must usually receive notice of the pending adoption before a birth mother can place her child for adoption in Texas. The father can consent to the child's adoption by signing an Affidavit of Voluntary Relinquishment to give up his parental rights. The specific procedures to relinquish parental rights depend on whether the biological father is also the child's legal father.
Legal Fatherhood for Husbands
Texas paternity laws confer legal fatherhood on the husband of a child's mother if they were married at the time of the child's birth. A legal father has parental rights. These include the right to receive notice from the mother if she plans to place the child for adoption and the right to voluntarily relinquish his parental rights so that an adoption may occur. However, though each legal parent has an individual right to choose voluntary relinquishment, they must both agree to an adoption. If the father wishes to relinquish his parental rights but the mother does not, Texas law will not allow the adoption to occur unless the state has taken steps to pursue involuntary termination of parental rights for the parent who opposes the termination of rights.
Waiver of Interest
If the man identified as the child's legal father according to Texas law is not the child's biological father, the legal father can sign a waiver of interest to give up his right to stop the child's adoption. If another man claims to be the child's biological father but does not have the status of legal fatherhood, he may have rights as a putative father under state law. An unmarried biological father or putative father must take action as required by the paternity laws of Texas to assert those rights.
Paternity for Unmarried Fathers
When the parents are not married, the biological father does not have parental rights in Texas unless he formally acts to establish the child's paternity. The state will recognize the biological father as the child's legal father if the parents choose to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity together at the child's birth or at any later date. A man can also start a paternity case in the Texas state courts to get a court order identifying him as the child's legal father. The legal father then has a right to receive notice of any pending adoption proceedings and to decide whether to relinquish his parental rights. Men who believe they are the biological father of a child can register within 31 days of the child's births. This will protect their right to receive notice of any adoption proceedings.
Affidavit of Voluntary Relinquishment
The state of Texas must terminate the legal father's parental rights before the court may approve of the child's adoption. A biological father who has the status of legal fatherhood can consent to the child's adoption by signing an Affidavit for Voluntary Relinquishment in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public. The affidavit must contain information specified by Texas law, including personal information about the father and the child, and a statement that termination of parental rights would serve the child's best interests.