Loading...

COURT: Facebook notice to dad insufficient before giving up baby for adoption

So we are seeing more and more social media case law in recent years. Last week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a woman who got pregnant and gave up her child for adoption did not satisfy the requirement to give the biological dad notice by sending him a Facebook message.
Nine out of 12 judges on that court said:

Nothing in the record of this cause indicates that more direct contact with Father was impossible so that Mother was required to rely upon an indirect method such as Facebook to notify him of her pregnancy. Indeed, the record indicates she came to Father’s workplace to see him roughly six weeks after their last sexual encounter.

There is no indication in the record she knew she was pregnant at the time, and it is quite possible that she did not know, however it does demonstrate she knew where to find Father to talk to him in person and had no qualms about doing so. The record does not indicate she made any effort to visit Father again after this date, while he was still employed, to tell him of the pregnancy.

The record also does not indicate Mother made any other reasonable effort to contact Father directly and notify him. 

In other words, if she wanted to let him know she was preggers, she had better chances than via an indirect message on Facebook.
The three dissenting judges – who didn’t have enough votes to change the outcome of the case- disagreed. 
They questioned why a man would have unprotected sex and assume there would be no pregnancy at some point or suspect something was up.  They relied on Oklahoma law when writing:

The duty of the male who has sexual relations with a female is (1) to be aware that a pregnancy might occur and (2) to inform himself. He cannot complacently wait for the female to find him in the event of a pregnancy. In this case the Mother tried to inform the father. There was no evidence that he attempted to learn anything. After the legislature had made its intent known, the majority opinion still maintains that the responsibility of informing a father lies fully with the female. 

The Father’s testimony reveals that during the times they were having intercourse, the Mother was seventeen years old and he was twenty to twenty-one years old. He testified that he knew where she lived, knew her full name and had her telephone number. When asked, ‘What steps did you take to determine that she wasn’t pregnant after you had intercourse the last time?’ His answer was ‘None.’ He was also asked, ‘[D]id you ever attempt to contact her and she denied contact with you?’ He answered, ‘No.’

They also were willing to consider a Facebook notice adequate by citing a past case where a court determined a fax notice was sufficient.

Interesting, no? What do you think?

h/t Eugene Volokh of the Washington Post

post signature

You might also like