Oklahoma Supreme Court: Facebook message not legal notification
The couple at issue in the case were in a relationship and the woman became pregnant. However, the woman did not notify the man that he was to be a father, except through a Facebook message. The man claims he never saw the message, and indeed did not receive any notice that he was the father of a daughter until the child was adopted.
When the man found out he was a father, the child’s adoptive parents requested an emergency guardianship. However, ultimately, the Oklahoma Supreme Court determined that the man was not granted due process to waive his paternal rights. The case will now go back to a trial court to determine guardianship of the child.
This situation highlights a couple of important legal issues. The first issue is related to paternity. In order for a child to be adopted, both parents have to relinquish their legal rights towards the child. In this case, the man was never adequately notified of his status as a father, thus could not knowingly waive his rights.
The second issue is related to guardianship. In this situation, it will need to be determined who the child’s guardians will be. These can be complicated issues to address. Those in similar situations may want to seek out professional help to ensure that their rights and the rights of the child are upheld.