woman on bench

Adoption Overturned Due to Mother's Fleeing

Gotta hand it to the putative father's persistence in this case.

The young man found out that a girl he had sexual relations with was pregnant.  She fled the state (Missouri) and went to Texas without telling the putative father.  He filed to have his parental rights established, as well as filed on the putative father registry in more than one state (he was filing in places where the mother was likely to be found.).

Despite his efforts, the mother was able to give birth without the putative father's knowledge and also have the child adopted by a married couple.  The putative father lost his efforts to overturn the adoption and this appeal followed.

The Supreme Court of Arkansas notes that it has not dealt with an adoption case where the biological mother had thwarted attempts by the biological father to legitimate the child.  In overturning the circuit court's order, and consequently the adoption as well, the Supreme Court states the following:

"While appellees (adoptive parents) suggest that he (biological father) could have done more, that is not the question. Instead, the question is whether appellant’s efforts to establish a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship, in light of S.M.B.’s thwarting of his efforts, were sufficient such that his consent to the adoption was required pursuant to section 9-9-206(a)(2). We hold that they were. And, because they were, the circuit court’s finding that appellant’s consent to the adoption was not required is clearly erroneous. Accordingly, we reverse the finding that appellant’s consent is not required, vacate the decree of adoption, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

Click here for the full opinion.  Its worth the read as it addresses the history of Arkansas adoption statutes as well as other states' treatment of situations of the "thwarted putative father."