Have the other parent sign a denial of paternity

If you have talked to the other parent and he denies that he is the father of the child, he can sign a denial of paternity form. This allows you to move forward with the adoption. 

Before you start

By signing the form, the person is denying he is the father of this child and allowing the court to terminate any parental rights or responsibilities they may have without any further notice. You’ll attach the signed form to your adoption request.

The actual denial of paternity form is different depending on if the other parent is an alleged father or presumed parent.

How to get a denial of paternity

  • Get the right form and fill it out

    • For an alleged father, use Denial of Paternity by Alleged Father (form AD 588)
    • For a presumed parent, use Presumed Father's Consent to Adoption (form AD 165)

    Fill out the form to include all known information. Make three extra copies of the form.

    Even though the forms appear to be for agency adoptions, they can be used for stepparent adoptions as well, as long as they are properly signed in front of a notary or other qualified witness.
  • Prepare a cover letter with instructions

    It’s a good idea to include a cover letter with the forms when you send them to the other parent. In the letter, make sure the other parent knows that they must sign in front of a notary public.


    The other parent can also sign the forms in front of a clerk of a California Superior Court, a probation officer, a court investigator, or in some cases, a county welfare staff member. 

    Some recommendations:

    • Include three copies of the completed consent form with the cover letter.  You will ask them to return two signed and notarized copies. They can keep one for their records. 
    • Request that they return the forms to you by a specific date. Usually two weeks is enough time, unless the person is out of town or lets you know that they are not able to get it back to you quickly. 
    • Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a check (or money order/cashier's check) to cover the cost of the notary to make the process easier for the other person. 
    Notary charges can be anywhere from $10-20 per page
  • Send or deliver to the other parent

    Make sure you keep at least one copy of the form and your letter, then send or deliver it to the other parent. Make a note of the date and time you either delivered it to or mailed it to the other parent. You may wish to send it via certified or express mail in order to confirm the send date and track delivery.

    Be sure to follow up and re-send if necessary.

    If after follow up the alleged parent doesn’t respond in a reasonable amount of time (around 3-4 weeks), you can let them know you’re moving ahead with the adoption which will give them the opportunity to respond in court if they disagree.  

    If the presumed parent doesn’t respond even after you’ve followed up, you can only move forward if you have grounds to ask the court to take away their rights as a parent. Grounds can include abandonment (no communication or support for a specified time period), neglect/cruelty to child, severe disabilities due to habitual use of alcohol or controlled substances, certain felony convictions, and mental illness. Because these grounds can be complicated to prove, you should consult a Self-Help Center or lawyer.

    See further detail on all situations, including proceeding without consent.

Stepparent adoption

What's next?

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If the other parent signs and returns the denial, your next steps depend on whether they are an alleged father or presumed parent.



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If the other parent doesn’t respond or won't sign the denial, your next steps also depend on whether they are an alleged father or presumed parent. 

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