As a father, you may not always be clear on your rights. If you were not married to the mother of your child at the time of his or her birth, then you have no legal parental rights. Therefore, it is important to establish those as soon as possible. Another situation you may run into in Louisiana that require establishing your rights is adoption. 

If the mother of your child wants to give him or her up for adoption, she can do it without your input if you fail to establish paternity. The court will try to find you, though. So, you do have a chance to take custody yourself if the mother does not want to raise the child. 

Protect yourself 

For an adoption to legally go through, according to Adoptions From the Heart, the court must terminate the rights of both parents. In this type of situation, this is voluntary. If you do not want to give up your rights, the adoption cannot happen. The court could step in and terminate your rights if you do not show up in court or otherwise object to the adoption. So, you must make your voice heard on the matter. 

Claiming your child 

When claiming paternity during an adoption, you need to show that you have tried to be in the child’s life. If you did not know about the child, then you can also show that. The court may not allow your paternity claims to stand if you cannot show that one of these situations happened. 

If you show that you can offer the child a good home and provide for the child on your own, then you could become the sole legal parent if the mother still wishes to terminate her parental rights. You will have to go through another court proceeding to establish both legal paternity and custody.