A putative father, with some variations in specific language, generally means a man whose legal relationship to a child has not been established but who is alleged to be or claims that he may be the biological father of a child who is born to a woman to whom he is not married at the time of the child's birth.
There is no standard definition for the word "father" in statutes across the United States. Five States (as of 2010, Arizona, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia) as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands provide no definitions for the term at all. Many States however do have definitions for the various categories of unwed fathers with the term "putative father" being defined by statute in 12 States (as of 2010, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming).
- Child Welfare Information Gateway (30 June 2010). "The Rights of Unmarried Fathers". U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Bouvier, John (1856). "Constitution and Laws of the United States". Law Dictionary (The Free Dictionary).
- "Putative Father Law & Legal Definition". U.S. Legal .com.
- Legal Dictionary, Durhaime. "Putative Father Definition".
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