Court: Father’s failure to timely register implies consent to adoption

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the adoption of a child by the maternal grandfather after finding the purported father irrevocably implied consent after failing to timely register with the Indiana Putative Father Registry.

In In the Matter of the Adoption and Paternity of K.G.B., E.S. v. T.B. and K.B., 12A02-1404-AD-255, putative father E.S. appealed the dismissal of his paternity action and the grant of T.B.’s motion to adopt his grandchild.

K.G.B. was born in August 2012; a search of the registry in 2013 did not show anyone had registered purporting to be K.G.B.’s father. Mother K.B. consented to her father’s adoption of the child, and an adoption petition was filed in August 2013.

In October, E.S. filed his paternity action and contested the adoption. He acknowledged he hadn’t properly registered with the IPFR, but he should have been notified of the pending adoption proceedings anyway.

In order to be entitled to notice of an adoption, a putative father must register with the Indiana Department of Health no later than “(1) 30 days after the child’s birth; or (2) the earlier of the date of the filing of a petition for the (A) child’s adoption or (B) termination of the parent-child relationship between the child and the child’s mother, whichever occurs later.”

E.S. did not timely file with the registry, so his failure to do so waives notice of an adoption proceeding. It also constitutes an irrevocably implied consent to the child’s adoption under I.C. 31-19-5-18.

The Court of Appeals rejected his claims that the statutes relating to the obligations and rights of a putative father are unconstitutional as applied to him. E.S. failed to show how his due process rights were violated, however. His argument that a putative father has a constitutionally protected opportunity to participate in his child’s life fails because E.S. failed to show he had established any substantial relationship with his child or attempted to participate in the child’s life prior to T.B.’s request to adopt the child.   

The judges also rejected the request by K.B. and T.B. for appellate attorney fees. The matter is remanded for proceedings necessary relating to the adoption.


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