According to Alabama Law a child born to a married couple is presumed to be the child of the Husband and Wife. When a child is born through adultery or to two unmarried people, the father will generally need to file a petition to seek and obtain his legal rights as a father. Mari has represented both mothers and presumed fathers in paternity actions because either parent may have an interest in establishing child custody, calculating child support, resolving health insurance issues, initiating visitation schedules, ensuing that the child’s birth certificate is accurate, establishing inheritance rights, etc.


An unmarried father should also consider signing an acknowledgment of paternity (AOP) with the mother of his child. The AOP must:

  • Be filed with the Alabama Office of Vital Statistics,
  • Be signed and notarized by both parents,
  • State that the child whose paternity is being acknowledged does not have a presumed father or that the father executing the acknowledgment is the presumed father,
  • Does not have another acknowledged or adjudicated father;
  • State whether there has been genetic testing and that such testing was consistent with the father acknowledging paternity; and
  • State that both parties understand that the acknowledgment is a considered a legal finding of paternity and that a challenge to the acknowledgment is only allowed in certain circumstances
  • [Alabama State Code – Section 26-17-302]

Rights Guaranteed by Signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity:

  • Guaranteed right to be responsible for child support
  • Right to name on the child’s birth certificate
  • Right to be consulted in the event of an adoption proceeding regarding the child


Alabama Law allows a putative father – a man who assumes or alleges to be the father of a child – to be notified of adoption proceedings involving the child. Notice to the putative father is made when there has been adjudication, legitimization, or intent to claim paternity verified by or filed with the Alabama Department of Human Resources’ Office of Permanency.

In order for the putative father to receive notice of an adoption procedure, he must register with the Putative Father Registry prior to the child’s birth or within a 30-day period after the child’s birth. A putative father who fails to file a notice of intent to claim paternity within this time frame is considered to have given an irrevocable implied consent to any adoption proceeding. The putative father is responsible for notifying the Department of Human Resources’ Office of Permanency of a change of address.

If you think you may be the father of a child, you need to join the putative father registry so that you do not inadvertently consent to the adoption of your child. As soon as you think someone is pregnant by you, you should fill out the Alabama Department of Human Resources Intent to Claim Paternity Registration Form and Income Statement. For further information, see:


Your paternal obligations are important to us and we want to help you with one of life’s most precious opportunities.

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.