In Roe v. Reeves, the adoptive parents appeal a family court’s decision where the birth father claims his consent was necessary prior to another couple adopting his child. The family court agreed with the father; the Supreme Court reversed stating that the father did not undertake sufficient good faith effort to assume parental responsibility

Any father whose consent and relinquishment is required must be named a defendant in an adoption proceeding if he does not consent and relinquish his rights.

If the child was conceived or born during the marriage of husband and wife whether or not the husband is the actual father, the husband’s consent and relinquishment is required. If he

As of 1 July 2010 attorney’s may search the Responsible Father Registry. This link will take you to the registration page; an attorney who wishes to search the registry for a pending adoption or termination of parental rights matter will need to register through the above link to be authorized to search the registry.

The registration process takes

If you want to protect your parental rights as a father you need to register at the Responsible Father Registry.

Please read my blog post at https://www.southcarolinaadoptionlaw.com/2009/12/articles/biological-father-1/john-doe-rip-responsible-father-registry-is-law-1-januarly-2010/  and Responsible Father Registry Q & A  to help you more fully understand the Responsible Father Registry.

The text below is extracted  from www.justia.com and gives a great summary of a U.S. Supreme Court Case involving unwed fathers’ rights and the putative father registry. After reading this case, I doubt the new South Carolina Responsible Father Registry will have any serious U.S. Constitutional challenges.

U.S. Supreme Court

Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U.S. 248

Is John Doe dead?  Jenny Horne, a co-sponsor, of the new Responsible Father Registry law says yes in an article she wrote in The Summerville Journal Scene:

The Responsible Birthfather Registry Act will require fathers who wish to be notified of a termination of parental rights proceeding to take the affirmative step of registering with a confidential state database. This registry can then be checked by DSS [or the adoptive parents’ lawyer in private adoptions] during the termination of parental rights (“TPR”) proceedings before a child is adopted into a permanent and loving home. This new registry does away with the antiquated practice of placing Joe Doe notices in the local newspapers.

If the mother of a child who is being placed for adoption is unmarried, the courts generally require the adoptive parents to serve any potential unknown father by adding John Doe as a defendant and serving John Doe via a newspaper in the county in which the child was conceived. This method of terminating the rights of a potential unknown father is fraught with legal uncertainty and a potential challenge by the father as illustrated in Brown v. Malloy; this case is a fact intensive case in which the father challenged the termination of his rights and the adoption of his child. All four issues raised by the father in the case concern the John Doe notice. 

The Responsible Father Registry should be in place on 1 January 2010 and will require a potential father to register with the Registry to ensure he preserves his parental rights; eliminating the need for John Doe notices.

The Responsible Father Registry law makes clear the only notice that the father is required  to receive concerning the mother’s pregnancy is the sexual intercourse itself; his "sexual intercourse or his consent to artificial insemination with the biological mother is deemed to be notice to the unmarried biological father of the biological mother’s pregnancy." In essence, if a man has sex with a woman and wants to preserve his parental rights to a child that may have been conceived from that intercourse, he must register with the Registry. This will eliminate any legal uncertainty concerning the father’s rights and places the responsibility for preserving his rights squarely on his own shoulders. John Doe is dead.


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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