ADA
adoption terms
Adoption cases often use special words that can be hard to understand. This section explains those terms.

Click on a topic to learn more:


  • Presumed father

    A presumed father is a man who was married to the birth mother, is named as the father on the original birth certificate, or has lived with the birth mother and the child and has told people that he is the father. There are other factors, too.

    A presumed father has the same rights and responsibilities as the birth mother. The adoption cannot proceed without the presumed father's consent.

    If you are the presumed father and do not agree to the adoption and want to raise the child yourself, the Court will probably let you do that. Talk to a lawyer about your case. You can find a probate lawyer from the membership list of the Silicon Valley Bar Association’s website . You can also get a referral to a lawyer from the Santa Clara County Bar Association  . Their phone number is 408-971-6822 .

    Note to Father: If you think you may be the father of a child, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. If you don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer, you can ask the Court to give you a lawyer.

  • Alleged father

    An alleged father is a man who is identified by the mother as the potential birth father of a child. An alleged father is not married to the birth mother and has not lived with the child and the birth mother after the child was born.

    An alleged father must be notified about the adoption petition. But, if after a diligent search, the alleged father cannot be located, the Court can end his parental rights.

    The alleged father can consent to the adoption, waive notice of the proceeding or sign a Denial of Paternity. If the alleged father refuses to do any of these things, the Court can end his parental rights. This can happen after proper procedures have been followed and if the alleged father does not file papers to assume custody of the child.

    Note to Father: If you think you may be the father of a child, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. If you don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer, you can ask the Court to give you a lawyer.

  • Birth parent

    The birth parent is the biological mother or biological father of a child.

  • Termination of parental rights

    If your parental rights are ended (terminated), you have no more legal rights over your child and you are no longer responsible (financially or otherwise) for the care of your child.

    If a court ends your parental rights, you can appeal the decision. You must file your appeal within 60 days after the Court has entered the order ending your rights.


  • Other adoption information at this site:

© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara