Arizona’s Putative Father Registry
Written by: Tracy Augustin
We have probably all caught an episode of “The Maury Show,” hosted by Maury Povich, at some point or another in which potential fathers and their alleged children are subjects of DNA testing. And, admittedly, these shows have some entertainment value associated with them, especially when you hear Maury announce, “He’s not the father!”, then you hear the audience gasp with shock in the background. In all seriousness though, issues of paternity can be a sensitive subject and sometimes even downright scandalous.
You may be surprised to learn there is actually a registry in Arizona in which putative fathers can sign up to be put on notice if their potential child is going to be placed for adoption. Who (or what) is a putative father? According to the Arizona Department of Health Services website:
A putative father is a person who claims to be the father of a child and wants to establish paternity. This person also wants to receive notices of any adoption proceedings concerning the child.
Practically speaking, what the “Putative Father Registry” in the State of Arizona does is protect “possible” fathers from their child being put up for adoption without notice to them so long as they register before the birth of the child or within thirty (30) days after the birth of a child (so a fairly short window of time). Lack of knowledge is not a defense to not registering. If a putative father has not registered within the required timeframe, he waives his right to be notified of any adoption proceedings.
The “Putative Father Registry” does not necessarily guarantee any rights to fathers such as ability to adopt or gain custody of the child; it only guarantees notification. Aside from protecting the rights of potential or putative fathers, Putative Father’s Registries also protect the security and stability of adoptions. Do we really want possible fathers coming back in the picture years after their child has been successfully placed for adoption contesting the placement of the child?