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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

259.52 Putative fathers' adoption registry.

Subdivision 1. Establishment of registry; purpose; fees. (a) The commissioner of health shall establish a putative fathers' adoption registry for the purpose of determining the identity and location of a putative father interested in a minor child who is, or is expected to be, the subject of an adoption proceeding, in order to provide notice of the adoption proceeding to the putative father who is not otherwise entitled to notice under section 259.49, subdivision 1, paragraph (a) or (b), clauses (1) to (7). The commissioner of health may establish informational material and public service announcements necessary to implement this section. Any limitation on a putative father's right to assert an interest in the child as provided in this section applies only in adoption proceedings and only to those putative fathers not entitled to notice and consent under sections 259.24 and 259.49, subdivision 1, paragraph (a) or (b), clauses (1) to (7). The commissioner of health has no independent obligation to gather or update the information to be maintained on the registry. It is the registrant's responsibility to update his personal information on the registry.

(b) The putative fathers' adoption registry must contain the following information:

(1) with respect to the putative father, the:

(i) name, including any other names by which the putative father may be known and that he may provide to the registry;

(ii) address at which he may be served with notice of a petition under this chapter, including any change of address;

(iii) social security number, if known;

(iv) date of birth; and

(v) if applicable, a certified copy of an order by a court of another state or territory of the United States adjudicating the putative father to be the father of this child;

(2) with respect to the mother of the child:

(i) name, including all other names known to the putative father by which the mother may be known;

(ii) if known to the putative father, her last address;

(iii) social security number, if known; and

(iv) date of birth;

(3) if known to the putative father, the name, gender, place of birth, and date of birth or anticipated date of birth of the child;

(4) the date that the commissioner of health received the putative father's registration; and

(5) other information the commissioner of health determines by rule to be necessary for the orderly administration of the registry.

(c) The commissioner of health shall set reasonable fees for the use of the registry; however, a putative father shall not be charged a fee for registering. Revenues generated by the fee must be deposited in the state government special revenue fund and appropriated to the commissioner of health to administer the putative fathers' adoption registry.

Subd. 2. Requirement to search registry before adoption petition can be granted; proof of search. No petition for adoption may be granted unless the agency supervising the adoptive placement, the birth mother of the child, or, in the case of a stepparent or relative adoption, the county agency responsible for the report required under section 259.53, subdivision 1, requests that the commissioner of health search the registry to determine whether a putative father is registered in relation to a child who is or may be the subject of an adoption petition. The search required by this subdivision must be conducted no sooner than 31 days following the birth of the child. A search of the registry may be proven by the production of a certified copy of the registration form or by a certified statement of the commissioner of health that after a search no registration of a putative father in relation to a child who is or may be the subject of an adoption petition could be located. Certification that the putative fathers' adoption registry has been searched must be filed with the court prior to entry of any final order of adoption. In addition to the search required by this subdivision, the agency supervising the adoptive placement, the birth mother of the child, or, in the case of a stepparent or relative adoption, the county agency responsible for the report under section 259.53, subdivision 1, may request that the commissioner of health search the registry at any time.

Subd. 3. Search of registry for child support enforcement purposes. A public authority responsible for child support enforcement that is attempting to establish a child support obligation may request that the commissioner of health search the registry to determine whether a putative father is registered in relation to a child who is or may be the subject of a child support obligation. A search of the registry may be proven by the production of a certified copy of the registration form or by a certified statement of the commissioner of health that after a search, no registration of a putative father in relation to the child could be located. No fee may be charged to the public authority for use of the registry.

Subd. 4. Classification of registry data. Data in the putative fathers' adoption registry are private data on individuals, as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 2. Data in the registry may be released to:

(1) a person who is required to search the registry under subdivision 2, if the data relate to the child who is or may be the subject of the adoption petition; or

(2) a public authority as provided in subdivision 3.

A person who receives data under this subdivision may use the data only for purposes authorized under this section or other law.

Subd. 5. Criminal penalty for registering false information. A person who knowingly or intentionally registers false information under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Subd. 6. Who may register. Any putative father may register with the putative fathers' adoption registry. However, any limitation on a putative father's right to assert an interest in the child as provided in this section applies only in adoption proceedings and only to those putative fathers not entitled to notice and consent under sections 259.24 and 259.49, subdivision 1, paragraph (a) or (b), clauses (1) to (7).

Subd. 7. When and how to register. A putative father may register with the department of health before the birth of the child but must register no later than 30 days after the birth of the child. Registrations must be in writing and signed by the putative father.

Subd. 8. Failure to register. Except for a putative father who is entitled to notice and consent under sections 259.24 and 259.49, subdivision 1, paragraph (a) or (b), clauses (1) to (7), a putative father who fails to timely register with the putative fathers' adoption registry under subdivision 7:

(1) is barred thereafter from bringing or maintaining an action to assert any interest in the child during the pending adoption proceeding concerning the child;

(2) is considered to have waived and surrendered any right to notice of any hearing in any judicial proceeding for adoption of the child, and consent of that person to the adoption of the child is not required; and

(3) is considered to have abandoned the child.

Failure to register under subdivision 7 is prima facie evidence of sufficient grounds to support termination of the putative father's parental rights under section 260.221, subdivision 1.

A putative father who has not timely registered under subdivision 7 is considered to have timely registered if he proves by clear and convincing evidence that:

(i) it was not possible for him to register within the period of time specified in subdivision 7;

(ii) his failure to register was through no fault of his own; and

(iii) he registered within ten days after it became possible for him to file.

A lack of knowledge of the pregnancy or birth is not an acceptable reason for failure to register.

Subd. 9. Notice and service for those on putative fathers' adoption registry who are not otherwise entitled to notice. Any time after conception, an interested party, including persons intending to adopt a child, a child welfare agency with whom the mother has placed or has given written notice of her intention to place a child for adoption, the mother of a child, or any attorney representing an interested party, may file with the court administrator a written request that the putative fathers on the registry who have registered in relation to the child be served with a putative fathers' adoption registry notice, an intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form, and a denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form pursuant to subdivision 11. These documents may be served on a putative father in the same manner as a summons is served in other civil proceedings, or, in lieu of personal service, service may be made as follows:

(a) The person requesting notice shall pay to the court administrator a mailing fee plus the cost of United States postage for certified or registered mail and furnish to the court administrator an original and one copy of the putative fathers' adoption registry notice, the intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form, and the denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form together with an affidavit setting forth the putative father's last known address. The original putative fathers' adoption registry notice, the intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form, and the denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form must be retained by the court administrator.

(b) The court administrator shall mail to the putative father, at the address appearing in the affidavit, the copy of the putative fathers' adoption registry notice, the intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form, and the denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form by certified mail, return receipt requested. The envelope and return receipt must bear the return address of the court administrator. The receipt for certified mail must state the name and address of the addressee and the date of mailing and must be attached to the original notice.

(c) The return receipt, when returned to the court administrator, must be attached to the original putative fathers' adoption registry notice, the intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form, and the denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form and constitutes proof of service.

(d) The court administrator shall note the fact of service in a permanent record.

Subd. 10. Response to putative fathers' adoption registry notice; limitation of rights for failure to respond and upon filing of disclaimer of paternity. Within 30 days of receipt of the putative fathers' adoption registry notice, the intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form, and the denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form, the putative father must file a completed intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form with the court administrator stating that he intends to initiate a paternity action within 30 days of receipt of the putative fathers' adoption registry notice in order to preserve the right to maintain an interest in the child and receive notice during the pending adoption proceeding. Failure to initiate a paternity action within 30 days of receipt of the putative fathers' adoption registry notice does not act as a bar to receiving notice under section 259.49. If good cause is shown, the putative father must be allowed more time to initiate the paternity action. A putative father who files a completed denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form or who fails to timely file an intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form with the court:

(1) is barred from later bringing or maintaining an action to assert any interest in the child during the pending adoption proceeding concerning the child;

(2) is considered to have waived and surrendered a right to notice of a hearing in any judicial proceeding for adoption of the child, and consent of that person to the adoption of the child is not required; and

(3) is considered to have abandoned the child.

Failure to register is prima facie evidence of sufficient grounds to support termination of the putative father's parental rights.

Subd. 11. Putative fathers' adoption registry notice; intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form; denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form. (a) The putative father's adoption registry notice sent under subdivision 9 must be substantially as follows:

"IN THE MATTER OF NOTICE TO .........., REGISTERED PUTATIVE FATHER.

You have signed the putative fathers' adoption registry indicating that you are the father of a child born on the .......... day of .........., ...., (or expected to be born on or about the ....... day of .........., ....).

The mother of the child is ...........

The mother has indicated that she intends to place the child for adoption.

As the alleged father of the child by virtue of signing the putative fathers' adoption registry, you have certain legal rights with respect to the child, including the right to notice of the filing of proceedings instituted for the adoption of the child. If you wish to retain your rights with respect to the child, you must file with the court administrator, Court of .......... County, Minnesota, whose address is .........., Minnesota, within 30 days after the date of receipt of this notice, the enclosed intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form stating that you are, in fact, the father of the child and that you intend to retain your legal rights with respect to the child by initiating a paternity action within 30 days of receipt of the putative fathers' adoption registry notice.

If you do not file an intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form or a request for notice, then whatever legal rights you have with respect to the child, including the right to notice of any future proceedings for the adoption of the child, may be terminated without any further notice to you. When your legal rights with respect to the child are so terminated, you will not be entitled to notice of any proceeding instituted for the adoption of the child.

If you are not the father of the child, you may file with the court administrator the denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form enclosed herewith and you will receive no further notice with respect to the child."

(b) The intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form sent under subdivision 9 must be substantially as follows:

"INTENT TO CLAIM PARENTAL RIGHTS WITH ENTRY OF APPEARANCE

I, .........., state as follows:

(1) That I am ..... years of age; and I reside at .......... in the County of .........., State of ...........

(2) That I have been advised that .......... is the mother of a .......... male/female child named .......... born or expected to be born on or about .......... and that such mother has stated that I am the father of this child.

(3) I declare that I am the father of this child.

(4) I understand that the mother of this child wishes to consent to the adoption of this child. I do not consent to the adoption of this child, and I understand that I must return this intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form to the court administrator of .......... County, located at .........., within 30 days of receipt of this notice.

(5) I further understand that I am also obligated to initiate a paternity action under the Parentage Act (Minnesota Statutes, sections 257.51 to 257.74) within 30 days of my receiving the putative fathers' adoption registry notice, or, if the child is not yet born, within 30 days after the birth of the child, unless for good cause shown I am unable to do so. That proceeding is separate and distinct from the above mailing of intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form; in the paternity action, I must state that I am, in fact, the father of said child for one or more of the reasons stated in Minnesota Statutes, section 257.55, subdivision 1, and that I intend to retain my legal rights with respect to said child, and request to be notified of any further proceedings with respect to custody or adoption of the child.

(6) I hereby enter my appearance in the above entitled cause.

OATH

I have been duly sworn and I say under oath that I have read and understand this intent to claim parental rights with entry of appearance form. The facts that it contains are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, and I understand that by signing this document I admit my paternity. I have signed this document as my free and voluntary act.

........... (Signature)

Dated this .......... day of .........., .....

Signed and Sworn Before Me This ....... day of .........., .....

........... (notary public)"

(c) The denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption form sent under subdivision 9 must be substantially as follows:

"DENIAL OF PATERNITY WITH ENTRY OF APPEARANCE AND

CONSENT TO ADOPTION

I, .........., state as follows:

(1) That I am ..... years of age; and I reside at .......... in the County of .........., State of ...........

(2) That I have been advised that .......... is the mother of a .......... male/female child named .......... born or expected to be born on or about .......... and that I have registered with the putative fathers' adoption registry stating that I am the father of this child.

(3) I now deny that I am the father of this child. My denial at this time will not subject me to any criminal liability.

(4) I further understand that the mother of this child wishes to consent to the adoption of the child. I hereby consent to the adoption of this child, and waive any rights, remedies, and defenses that I may have now or in the future. This consent is being given in order to facilitate the adoption of the child and so that the court may terminate what rights I may have to the child. This consent is not in any manner an admission of paternity.

(5) I hereby enter my appearance in the above entitled cause and waive service of summons and other pleading.

OATH

I have been duly sworn and I say under oath that I have read and understood this denial of paternity with entry of appearance and consent to adoption. The facts it contains are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, and I understand that by signing this document I have not admitted paternity. I have signed this document as my free and voluntary act in order to facilitate the adoption of the child.

........... (Signature)

Dated this .......... day of .........., .....

Signed and Sworn Before Me This ....... day of .........., .....

........... (notary public)"

[The names of adoptive parents must not be included in the notice.]

Subd. 12. Right to counsel at public expense. Upon proof of indigency, a putative father who has registered with the fathers' adoption registry, has received a putative fathers' adoption registry notice, and has timely filed an intent to claim paternal rights with entry of appearance form with the court administrator, must have counsel appointed at public expense.

Subd. 13. Applicability of Indian Child Welfare Act. In an action involving an American Indian child, sections 257.35 to 257.3579, and the Indian Child Welfare Act, United States Code, title 25, sections 1901 to 1923, control to the extent that the provisions of this section are inconsistent with those laws. The public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of any Indian tribe that provide an acknowledgment of paternity or that establish paternity pursuant to tribal law or custom shall be given full faith and credit as provided in United States Code, title 25, section 1911(d). Nothing in this section defeats the right of an Indian father who has acknowledged or established his paternity pursuant to tribal law or custom to commence a paternity proceeding, except that no father may file a paternity proceeding after the entry of a final decree of adoption.

Subd. 14. Fees for putative fathers' adoption registry. The district court administrator in every judicial district shall, in addition to any other filing fees, assess a $75 adoption filing fee surcharge on each adoption petition filed in the district court for the purpose of implementing and maintaining the putative fathers' adoption registry. The court administrator shall forward fees collected under this subdivision to the commissioner of finance for deposit into the state government special revenue fund to be appropriated to the commissioner of health to administer the putative fathers' adoption registry established under this section.

HIST: 1997 c 218 s 9