Many unmarried men in Arkansas and nationally who are in relationships with women have questions regarding their legal rights in the event that a child is born.
Authorities understand those concerns and have responded to them, with state legislatures across the country having passed statutory laws over the course of many years that address fathers’ rights following a pregnancy and birth.
Arkansas is no exception, maintaining a Putative Father Registry that sets for the requirements a man must comply with to be duly notified of a birth prior to a child being placed for adoption.
The Arkansas Department of Health website contains relevant information regarding the registry and is a useful starting point for any putative father seeking to protect his legal rights.
A recent media article discussing putative father registries across the country notes that registration mandates can range widely from complex exactions required of an applicant (for example, partners’ height, weight, Social Security number, birthday and eye color; approximate date/s of sexual contact; applicant’s driver’s license number; and more) to relatively quick and simple responses.
Some states charge applicants for registration. At least one requires an in-person court hearing. The website noted above states that registration is free in Arkansas, with no requirement that a putative father’s name be included on a baby’s birth certificate.
When an adoption petition is filed in Arkansas, state law mandates that the registry be checked to ascertain whether any unmarried man has registered as a putative father. In the event that is the case, the registrant must be sent notice of adoption proceedings.
Many men are likely unaware of the specific requirements relating to the registry in Arkansas; indeed, many unmarried males are likely unaware that such a registry even exists.
Unmarried dads in Arkansas with questions regarding the registry, paternity or related matters can obtain prompt, candid and accurate responses from an experienced Little Rock family law attorney.
Source: The Atlantic, “Sex and the single dad: What if your partner has a kid?” Kevin Noble Maillard, April 21, 2014