Logo
Call Now(480)305-8300

Adoption and Putative Father Registry

Posted on : September 12, 2016, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Adoption and the Putative Father Registry

Adoption and Putative Father Registration

In Arizona, a man who hasn’t yet proved paternity can register as a putative father on the Putative Father Registry in Arizona to protect his parenting rights. He can also file for a determination of paternity. State laws allow adoption without a father’s consent if a father waives his rights. A father waives his rights if he doesn’t register as a putative father within 30 days of the child’s birth. He also waives them if he doesn’t file for paternity within 30 days of receiving notice of the proposed adoption.

What happens when a father fails to register as a putative father, but does file a timely paternity action? In David C. and Kim C. v. Alexis S., CV-15-1302-PR (August 16, 2016), the Arizona Supreme Court addressed this question.

Facts of the Case

Child Adoption and the Putative Father Registry.

Child Adoption and the Putative Father Registry.

Baby AC was conceived while her Father and Mother lived together. They split up before she was born. Father tried to keep in contact so that he could parent AC, but Mother did not want contact between him and the child. After AC was born, Mother signed an affidavit saying that she did not know who AC’s father was. She agreed to an adoption by David C. and Kim C. David and Kim searched the registry of putative fathers 30 days after AC’s birth, as is required by state law.

Father had not registered as a putative father. Therefore, David and Kim filed for adoption in juvenile court. They published a “John Doe” notice of adoption on November 23, 2013. On that same day, Father brought a paternity action and served Mother. However, she did not tell him about the adoption. Nor did she tell the adoptive parents about Father’s interest in parenting AC.

Since the juvenile court did not know about Father’s paternity lawsuit, it granted the adoption. Father learned of the adoption several months later and filed suit to have it set aside. David and Kim asked the court to dismiss Father’s paternity suit. However, the court refused and testing determined that Father was AC’s biological father. The juvenile court judge set aside the adoption. It stated that Father did not lose his rights. It did not matter that he failed to register as a putative father within the 30 day period.

The court said that Father should have received notice of the adoption case. Since he did not, the adoption violated his due process rights.

The court of appeals affirmed. It declined to follow a ruling by a different Arizona Court of Appeals. That ruling held that when a father doesn’t register as a putative father, the adoption can occur without his consent. The Arizona Supreme Court granted review to resolve the conflict between the two Arizona court of appeals decisions.

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
A Google User
20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Google User
Google User
14:58 04 Oct 17
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
A Google User
A Google User
16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
A Google User
A Google User
22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
A Google User
A Google User
18:16 18 Sep 17
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
A Google User
A Google User
19:22 23 Aug 17
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
A Google User
A Google User
17:44 23 Jun 16
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
Bassam Ziadeh
Bassam Ziadeh
21:20 02 Apr 18
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Larry Flint
Larry Flint
21:53 27 Feb 18
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
Sam Franchimone
Sam Franchimone
22:09 12 Sep 13

Conflicting Statutes

The Supreme Court noted a possible conflict between two Arizona statutes. The conflict involved the different treatment of men who file as putative fathers and those who file paternity actions.

Adoption and Putative Father Registry.

Adoption and Putative Father Registry.

Arizona adoption statutes say that a father must register as a putative father within 30 days of the birth. If he does not, he loses his parental rights and the child can be adopted without his consent. An adoption can only proceed if the court receives notice from the Department of Health Services. The notice must say that, 30 days after the child’s birth, nobody has registered as a putative father.

However, paternity law says that a father can bring a paternity action after the baby is born. If he establishes paternity, he is entitled to notice of any adoption hearing. A man’s paternity action is timely if filed within 30 days of the day he gets notice of an adoption. In this case, the father did not file a putative father notice. But he did file a timely paternity action and was determined to be AC’s father. Did his failure to register extinguish his parental rights?

Court Decision in Marco C. v Sean C.

Mother and Father argue that Father’s failure to register as a putative father precluded his paternity case. They also claim that his failure to register waived his right to contest the adoption. They rely on the decision of a different panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals. That decision was in the case of Marco C. v. Sean C., 181 P3d. 1137 (2008). That court held that a man must register as a putative father within 30 days of a birth. If he doesn’t, the court ruled, he waives his parental rights and cannot contest an adoption.

Court of Appeals Decision in this Case

The Court of Appeals, in this case, disagreed with the ruling in Marco C. v. Sean C. It declined to follow it. It ruled that registry as a putative father isn’t a necessary precondition for a father to assert parental rights. It found that Father, by filing the paternity case, was entitled to notice of the adoption hearing. Since he filed within 30 days of the published notice, he did not waive his rights.

Disposition

The Arizona Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals in this case. It noted that the statute requires that all potential fathers receive notice of a proposed adoption. Potential fathers are the men listed by a child’s mother as possible fathers. The notice advises a potential father that he must file for paternity to contest the adoption. He must file within 30 days of the notice.

Father here was not given individual notice of the adoption action because Mother was dishonest. She lied to the adoptive parents and to the court about Father’s existence. Had Father been given appropriate notice, he could have filed for paternity. This would have halted the adoption until that action was completed.

The Supreme Court found that the putative father registry law supplements, but do not supplant other adoption laws. A father’s rights are protected by both. The requirement that potential fathers receive notice of any adoption protects men when the mother identifies potential fathers. The putative father registry protects a man who identifies himself as a potential father. In either case, the father has 30 days after receiving the notice to bring a paternity action.

Here, Father was not personally served because of Mother’s false statements. However, he did bring a paternity action within 30 days of the published “John Doe” notice. Therefore, he is not precluded from establishing paternity. Registry as a putative father is not a prerequisite to bringing a paternity action.



What’s Hot – Blog