Robert H. Klima, P.C.
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Service upon Birth Fathers

There are several options for serving notice of an adoption upon a birth father.  One of these is providing notice through the Putative Father Registry.  Under the law, this may involve merely mailing certain notices to him through certified mail, even if he never actually receives the notice.

I have major concerns about whether this provision violates the Consitutional right to due process of law.

Two recent cases, of which I am aware, have involved birth fathers claiming that their rights have been violated, even though the law was strictly complied with.

The Supreme Court of Virginia recently created a cause of action known as "Tortious Interference with Parental Rights."  This means that a lawyer and adoptive parents could be sued even if they have complied with the Putative Father Statute or pursued adoption under the laws of another state.

It is my belief that extra caution should be exercised to make sure that this cannot happen and the adoption itself is not in jeopardy.

The best way to do this is to serve notice upon the birth father in the traditional ways.  This means serving him either in person or by posting if his address is known, or publishing notice in a newspaper if his address is not known.

The Putative Father Registry should also be searched and notice given of the Registry in accordance with the statute.  But while most courts have not found any problems with relying upon the Registry alone, the few cases I mentioned are serious and deserve extra caution.

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