High hurdle: adoption against the will of the birth father?

Berlin (dpa / tmn) – If the consent of a parent to adopt their own child is to be replaced by a court, the hurdles are very high. The working group on family law of the German Lawyers’ Association (DAV) provides information on this with a view to a decision by the Hamburg Higher Regional Court (Az: 2 UF 43/21).

In this specific case, the child had been living with foster parents since it was four months old, since its biological parents used drugs, and the mother also during pregnancy. The child even had to be treated for drug withdrawal syndrome after birth. The mother’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Father would like to exercise fatherhood

The foster parents wanted to adopt the child, but the biological father refused. The man, who has committed multiple crimes, does not have custody and is in forensic psychiatry for addiction treatment.

The child’s legal guardian requested that the court replace the father’s consent to the adoption. Reason: With a foster relationship, there is always uncertainty as to whether the child will stay permanently. In addition, the father and child have not had any contact so far. There is no bond worthy of protection between the child and his father. He agrees if the child continues to live with the adoptive foster parents. But he wanted to remain the father of the child and actively exercise his fatherhood.

Court: No disadvantages from non-adoption

The application of the official guardian failed in court. The judges did not agree that the child would suffer disproportionate disadvantage if not adopted. However, this is the prerequisite for replacing the consent. The interests of father and child must be balanced.

There is currently no father-child relationship. This is due to the man’s drug addiction. For five years he has been trying to exercise his parental rights.

What ultimately remains is the uncertainty as to whether the child will not be able to return to its biological parents at some point. However, this uncertainty does not weigh so heavily that it can be used to justify replacing consent to adoption.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220922-99-857090/2

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