Under certain circumstances, the adoptive parents are required to give an unmarried father notice of the adoption proceeding. The statute list seven categories of fathers whom the adoptive parents are required to send notice of the adoption proceeding.
The Governor signed into law the Responsible Father Registry on the 2 June 2009. This new law changes the notice requirement slightly. The notice requirement is effective in its present form through 1 July 2010; on 1 July 2010, the new notice requirement replaces the need to notify unmarried fathers from whom a consent and relinquishment is not required with the need to notify unmarried fathers who have registered with the Responsible Father Registry. The adoptive parents are still required to notify the following unmarried fathers under the new law without the need for the father to register:
- a person adjudicated by the court to be the father;
- a person whose consent and relinquishment is required but cannot be obtained;
- a person listed on the birth certificate as the father;
- a person who openly lives with the child or the child’s mother or both and holds himself out as the child’s father;
- a person identified by the mother in a sworn, written statement as the father, and;
- a person whom the court finds mentally incapable of giving consent and relinquishment.
Under the new law, the attorney for the adoptive parents will make a request of the department to determine if an unmarried father has taken responsibility for the child by registering with the Responsible Father Registry. If the department determines that a father has taken responsibility for the child, the department will furnish the attorney with the name of the father. The adoptive parents will then be responsible for notifying the father of the adoption proceeding.