Birth fathers now have a shortened period of time with which to register with the Ohio Putative Father Registry from 30 days down to 15 days in order to protect their rights. The ability to contest adoptions has been reduced from one year down to six months after the date of finalization. This should make adoption much safer for adoptive families and the child.
The consent of a birth father who fails to register within 15 days after the minor’s birth may not be necessary. Essentially the child may be adopted without the birth father’s consent unless he registers within 15 days from birth.
The new Law also creates a brand new pre-birth notice option that can be sent to a Putative Father regarding a possible adoption, giving him a “heads-up” on the proposed adoption so he can consider all of his options.
The new Law also specifies what qualifies as living expenses incurred by a birth mother that may be paid. Living expenses are defined as rent or mortgage, utilities or payments for products or services required for the birth mother or minor sustenance or safety, including food, household goods, personal care items, and the cost of transportation to work or school. Currently Ohio law permits a payment of living expenses up to $3,000.00, up to 60 days after the birth of the child. The new Law also requires a reasonable and good faith effort to make the payments directly to the entity providing the service or item. Previously the payments could be made directly to the birth mother. Now at least an effort must be made to make the payment to the entity or service provider.
Perhaps the biggest change in law is that prospective adoptive parents who have been pre-approved for adoption are now legally allowed to advertise that they are looking for a baby for adoption. Plan on seeing advertisements, commercials, magazines and even billboards!
Another big change in the law is to increase the Ohio Adoption Tax credit from $1,500.00 to $10,000.00. This should make adoption more affordable for families.