Alabama Family Law Regarding Paternity – A Brief Reference
Alabama Family Law Definition of ‘Father’ Ala. Code §§ 26-17-102; 26-17-204
An acknowledged father is a man who has established a father-child relationship. An adjudicated father is a man who has been adjudicated by a court to be the father of a child. An alleged father is a man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged to be, the genetic father or a possible genetic father of a child but whose paternity has not been determined. A presumed father is a man who is recognized as the father of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial proceeding. A putative father is the alleged or reputed father.
A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if any of the following apply:
- He and the child’s mother are married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage.
- He and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated.
- Before the child’s birth he and the mother attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid.
- After the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother married or attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and: He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing, the writing being filed with the appropriate court or the Office of Vital Statistics.
- With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate.
- He is otherwise obligated to support the child either under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
- While the child is a minor, he receives the child into his home or otherwise openly holds out the child as his natural child or otherwise provides emotional and financial support for the child.
- He acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed in accordance with provisions of the legitimation statute.
Alabama Family Law and the Paternity Registry Ala. Code § 26-10C-1
The Department of Human Resources shall establish a putative father registry that shall record the name, Social Security number, date of birth, and address of the following:
- Any person adjudicated by a court of this State to be the father of a child born out of wedlock
- Any person who has filed with the registry, before or after the birth of a child born out of wedlock, a notice of intent to claim paternity of the child that includes the information required in subsection (c) below
- Any person adjudicated by a court of another State or territory of the United States to be the father of a child born out of wedlock, where a certified copy of the court order has been filed with the registry by the person or any other person
- Any person who has filed with the registry an instrument acknowledging paternity pursuant to §§ 26-11-1 through 26-11-3
This subsection shall be the exclusive procedure available for any person who claims to be the natural father of a child born out of wedlock on or after January 1, 1997, to entitle that person to notice of and the opportunity to contest any adoption proceeding filed and pending on or after January 1, 1997.
Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Under Alabama Family Law Ala. Code §§ 26-11-2; 26-17-201
A father of a nonmarital child may seek to legitimate the child and render him or her capable of inheriting his estate by filing a notice of declaration of legitimation in writing attested by two witnesses, setting forth the name of the child, supposed age, and the name of mother, and stating that he thereby recognizes him or her as his child and capable of inheriting his estate, real and personal, as if born in wedlock.
The father-child relationship may be established between a man and a child by:
- An unrebutted presumption of the man’s paternity of the child under § 26-17-204
- An effective acknowledgment of paternity by the man under Article 3
- An adjudication of the man’s paternity
- Adoption of the child by the man
- The man’s consent to assisted reproduction by a woman that resulted in the birth of the child
Required Information / Ala. Code § 26-10C-1
A person filing a notice of intent to claim paternity of a child or an acknowledgment of paternity [with the putative father registry]
shall include all of the following:
- The father’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, and current address
- The mother’s name and all other names known to the putative father that have been used by the mother, Social Security
- number, date of birth, and address, if known
- The father’s current income and financial information with a child support obligation income statement/affidavit form to be
- prescribed by regulations of the department
- The child’s name and place of birth, if known
- The possible date or dates of sexual intercourse
The person filing shall notify the registry of any change of address pursuant to the procedures prescribed by regulation of the department. The registration must be on a form prescribed by the department, signed by the putative father, and notarized. The putative father may file his notice of intent to claim paternity prior to the birth of the child.
Revocation of Claim to Paternity / Ala. Code § 26-10C-1(d)
A person who has filed a notice of intent to claim paternity may at any time revoke a notice of intent to claim paternity previously filed and, upon receipt of the notification by the registry, the revoked notice of intent to claim paternity shall be deemed null and void.
Access to Information / Ala. Code § 26-10C-1(f)
The Department of Human Resources shall, upon request, provide the names and addresses of persons listed with the registry to any court. The information shall not be divulged to any other person except upon order of a court for good cause shown. The department, after receiving notice pursuant to § 26-10A-17 of the pendency of any adoption proceeding wherein the proposed adopted person is a child born within 300 days of the date or dates of sexual intercourse listed in the registry and to the same biological mother listed in the registry, immediately shall send a copy of the notice of intent to claim paternity to the court handling the adoption.
When the court handling the adoption receives said notice of the intent to claim paternity, that court shall forthwith give notice of the pendency of the adoption proceeding to the putative father, and notify the biological mother that the putative father has registered in conformity with the putative father registry.