2012 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 63 - South Carolina Children's Code
Chapter 9 - ADOPTIONS
Section 63-9-820 - Registry established; definitions; claims of paternity; promulgation of regulations; unauthorized use.


SC Code § 63-9-820 (2012) What's This?

(A) There is established within the Department of Social Services the Responsible Father Registry, which the department shall maintain.

(B) As used in this section:

(1) "Department" means the Department of Social Services.

(2) "Registrant" means an unmarried biological father or a male who claims to be the unmarried biological father of a child.

(3) "Registry" means the Responsible Father Registry as established by this section.

(4) "Unmarried biological father" means a male who is not married to the biological mother of a child of whom he is or claims to be the natural father.

(C) Except as set forth in Section 63-9-730(B), in order to preserve the right to notice of an adoption proceeding or the right to notice of a petition for termination of parental rights, a registrant must file a claim of paternity with the registry. A claim of paternity filed with the registry must not be deemed to be an acknowledgment of paternity, and a claim of paternity filed with the registry, as well as any other information contained in the registry, is not admissible as evidence in any proceeding.

(D) Except for a person who is required to receive notice pursuant to Section 63-9-730(B), an unmarried biological father's failure to file a claim of paternity with the registry constitutes an implied irrevocable waiver of the father's right to notice of any proceedings pertaining to the termination of his parental rights and to the child's adoption. Such waiver includes a waiver of any right of the parent to be named as a party in or served with a summons or any other document prepared in conjunction with a termination of parental rights proceeding or an adoption proceeding.

(E) A claim of paternity must be signed by the registrant and must include:

(1) the registrant's name, address, and date of birth;

(2) the mother's name and, if known, her address and date of birth;

(3) if known, the child's name, place of birth, and date of birth;

(4) if known, the date, county, and state of conception of the child; and

(5) the date the claim is filed.

(F) The claim of paternity may be filed with the registry before or after the birth of the child; however, a claim of paternity filed with the registry is null and void if it is filed on or after the date a petition for termination of parental rights or a petition for adoption is filed.

(G) Only the registrant may file the claim of paternity. No other person may file the claim of paternity on behalf of the registrant. The registrant must notify the registry of any change of address in the manner prescribed by the department. Failure to notify the registry of a change of address in the manner prescribed by the department is deemed to be a waiver of a right to notice or to any other right to which the registrant may be entitled as a result of filing a claim of paternity pursuant to this section, including, but not limited to, notice by publication.

(H) The department shall issue a certificate to the registrant verifying that the claim of paternity, revocation, or change of address has been filed.

(I) No fee may be charged for filing a claim of paternity, a revocation, or a change of address with the registry. No fee may be charged to the department for its searches of the registry. The department may charge a fee for processing searches of the registry to a child-placing agency or an attorney assisting in the adoption or termination of parental rights of a child in accordance with a fee schedule established in the annual appropriations act.

(J) A registrant may at any time revoke a claim of paternity and shall file the revocation with the department in the manner prescribed by the department. The filing of a revocation of a claim of paternity with the registry in the manner prescribed by the department makes the prior claim of paternity filed by the registrant null and void.

(K) Except as set forth in Section 63-9-730(B), no unmarried biological father who fails to file a claim of paternity with the registry is entitled to notice of any adoption proceeding or of any termination of parental rights proceeding concerning the unmarried biological father's child.

(L) An unmarried biological father's failure to file a claim of paternity with the registry is deemed to be a lack of proper diligence under Section 63-9-770(B). An unmarried biological father's lack of knowledge of the biological mother's pregnancy does not excuse an unmarried biological father's failure to file a claim of paternity pursuant to this chapter. An unmarried biological father's sexual intercourse or his consent to artificial insemination with the biological mother is deemed to be notice to the unmarried biological father of the biological mother's pregnancy.

(M)(1) The registry is not available for public inspection and is not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 30 except that:

(a) the department may file a written request with the registry regarding a child for whom the department has an open case for child welfare services;

(b) the department shall provide the names and addresses of all registrants who have filed a claim of paternity for the child in question upon written request of a child-placing agency or an attorney assisting in the adoption or termination of parental rights of a child. The written request may be filed with the registry before or after the birth of the child and must include:

(i) the mother's name and, if known, her address and date of birth;

(ii) if known, the child's date of birth and place of birth; and

(iii) if known, the date, county, and state of conception of the child.

(2) If a written request is submitted by or to the department pursuant to item (a) or (b) of subsection (M)(1), and no claim of paternity for the registrant is found, the department shall issue a certificate of diligent search verifying that a search of the registry has been conducted and that no claim of paternity regarding that registrant or child was found.

(N) A registrant who has filed a claim of paternity must be served with notice of any adoption proceeding and any termination of parental rights proceeding involving any child identified in the registrant's filed claim of paternity within ten days of receipt of the registrant's name and address by the attorney or child-placing agency pursuant to item (b) of subsection (M)(1).

(O) Should the department issue a certificate of diligent search, the attorney for the requesting party in an adoption proceeding or in a termination of parental rights proceeding shall file the certificate of diligent search with the court in which the proceeding is pending within ten days of receipt of the certificate.

(P) A registrant's claim of paternity shall remain on the registry until nineteen years after the claim of paternity has been filed with the registry, at which time the information may be purged from the registry. A registrant's claim of paternity shall be purged from the registry if the registrant revokes his claim of paternity pursuant to subsection (J).

(Q) The department may promulgate regulations and forms necessary to implement the provisions of this section. The department shall produce and distribute a pamphlet or publication informing the public of the Responsible Father Registry. The pamphlet or publication shall indicate the procedure for registering and the consequences for failure to register.

(R)(1) Any unauthorized use, or attempted unauthorized use, of the registry is expressly prohibited, and any person or organization seeking, receiving, using, or publishing, or attempting to do so, any information contained in the registry in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.

(2) A person who knowingly, maliciously, or in bad faith files a false claim of paternity with the registry is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.

HISTORY: 2009 Act No. 41, Section 1, eff January 1, 2010.

SUBARTICLE 9.

FOREIGN ADOPTIONS

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. South Carolina may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.