In re Adoption of B.J.R., 238 N.C. App. 308 (2014)

Held: 
Affirmed

  • Timeline:
    • Jan. 7, 2013, child born
    • Jan. 13, 2013, unwed father files action for genetic testing, custody, and child support
    • Feb. 13, 2013, petition for adoption filed
    • Feb. 21, 2013 unwed father files objection to adoption proceeding asserting his consent is required
    • July 2013 genetic testing confirms he is the father
    • August 26, 2013 trial court denies father’s motion to dismiss  concluding his consent was not required
  • G.S. 48-3-601 requires the consent of a man who prior to the filing of the adoption petition or hearing completes three acts: (1) acknowledge paternity, (2) communicate or attempt to communicate with the mother regularly, and (3) make reasonable and consistent support payments within his financial means for the mother, child, or both. Father failed to meet the 3rd prong, therefore, his consent was not required pursuant to both the statute and holding in In re Byrd.
  • Statute is not unconstitutional as it applies to father when relying on the reasoning in Lehr and In re S.D.W.  Plaintiff did not grasp the opportunities within his control to develop a relationship with the child after the child’s birth. In the child’s first 6 months, plaintiff’s actions were limited to filing for custody, visiting once despite more times being offered to him, and purchasing diapers once but never delivering them. Awaiting genetic testing results prior to paying support or taking further steps to develop a relationship with the child is not a valid excuse for a delay in father’s action.

 

Category:
Adoption of a Minor Child
Stage:
Consent
Topic:
Unwed Father
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