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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

259.52 FATHERS' ADOPTION REGISTRY.
    Subdivision 1. Establishment of registry; purpose; fees. (a) The commissioner of health
shall establish a 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 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, which
is the date the registration is postmarked or the date it was delivered by means other than mail
to the address on the registration form; 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 notify the mother of the child whenever a putative
father has registered with the father's adoption registry under this section. Notice shall be sent
to the name and address submitted by the putative father under paragraph (b), clause (2). If no
current address for the mother is submitted by the putative father under paragraph (b), clause
(2), the commissioner of health shall not notify the mother. The commissioner of health has no
independent obligation to locate the mother. The notice shall be mailed within 14 days of the date
that the commissioner received the putative father's adoption registration unless a search has been
requested under subdivision 2. There shall be no charge to the birth mother for this notice.
(d) 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 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 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 fathers' adoption registry, including all
data provided in requesting the search of the registry, are private data on individuals, as defined in
section 13.02, subdivision 2, and are nonpublic data with respect to data not on individuals, as
defined in section 13.02, subdivision 9. 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;
(2) the mother of the child listed on the putative father's registration form who the
commissioner of health is required to notify under subdivision 1, paragraph (c);
(3) a public authority as provided in subdivision 3; or
(4) an attorney who has signed an affidavit from the commissioner of health attesting that the
attorney represents the birth mother or the prospective adoptive parents.
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 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. A registration is timely if
the date the registration is postmarked or the date it was delivered by means other than mail to the
address specified on the registration form is not later than 30 days after the birth of the child.
    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 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 260C.301, 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 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 serve by certified mail a notice to registered putative father, an intent to
claim parental rights form, a denial of paternity form, and a 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 interested party or that party's attorney shall mail to the putative father, at the address
provided to the registry, the copy of the notice to registered putative father, the intent to claim
parental rights form, the denial of paternity form, and the consent to adoption form by certified
mail, return receipt requested, and shall provide notice of the jurisdiction in which the adoption
petition will be filed. 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.
(b) The return receipt, when filed with the court, must be attached to the original notice to
registered putative father, the intent to claim parental rights form, the denial of paternity form, and
the consent to adoption form and constitutes proof of service.
(c) The court administrator shall note the fact of service in a permanent record.
    Subd. 10. Response to notice to registered putative father; limitation of rights for failure
to respond and upon filing of denial of paternity. Within 30 days of receipt of the notice to
registered putative father, the intent to claim parental rights form, the denial of paternity form, and
the consent to adoption form, the putative father must file a completed intent to claim parental
rights form with the court administrator in the county in which the adoption petition will be filed
as provided by the petitioner, stating that he intends to initiate a paternity action within 30 days
of receipt of the notice to registered putative father 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 notice to registered putative father 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 form and consent to adoption form or who fails to timely file an intent to claim
parental rights 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. Forms. The Office of the State Court Administrator shall develop the following
forms:
(1) notice to registered putative father;
(2) intent to claim parental rights;
(3) denial of paternity;
(4) consent to adoption; and
(5) notice to registered putative father of the county in which the adoption petition will be
filed.
    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 notice to registered putative
father, and has timely filed an intent to claim paternal rights 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 260.751 to 260.835, 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 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 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 fathers'
adoption registry established under this section.
    Subd. 15. International adoptions. This section does not apply to international adoptions.
History: 1997 c 218 s 9; 1998 c 354 s 1-7; 1998 c 382 art 2 s 4-14; 1999 c 122 s 1-6;
1999 c 139 art 4 s 2