In Florida, when a child is born out of wedlock (the parents are not married at the time of birth) the mother is presumed to be the "natural guardian" of the child. The effect of this presumption is that the mother solely has legally recognized rights of parental responsibility of the child. One of these rights is the ability to consent to and authorize adoption of the child by third parties.
Such an adoption can take place without notice to or the consent of the biological father. To defend against this, fathers in Florida who believe they may be the parent of a child born out of wedlock should register with the Florida Putative Father Registry. By registering a claim with the putative father registry, fathers can take an affirmative step to claim and acknowledge parentage of their children and prevent adoption or termination of parental rights without their knowledge or consent.
Fathers should register before the birth of the child, but such registry must occur before the filing of any petition for termination of parental rights. Information regarding the Florida Putative Father Registry.
Contact the family law attorneys at Givens Givens Sparks if you have any further questions.