Facebook post informing dad of planned adoption wasn't adequate notice, top state court says
Pregnant and planning to have her baby adopted, an Oklahoma woman sent a Facebook post to the father to let him know.
But that was not sufficient notice to prevent him from later asserting his parental rights, the state’s top court has ruled.
“This court is unwilling to declare notice via Facebook alone sufficient to meet the requirements of the due process clauses of the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions because it is not reasonably certain to inform those affected,” wrote Justice David Combs in the supreme court’s Tuesday ruling. It reversed an appellate court and vacated a trial court’s decision to terminate the parental rights of Billy McCall.
Three judges dissented, saying that McCall’s admission that he belatedly saw the Facebook post means he had actual or constructive notice sufficient to satisfy a state law requiring a man to be told that he fathered a child out of wedlock, reports Courthouse News.
“Why would Facebook be any less reliable than other forms of electronic communication?” wrote Justice James Winchester for the dissenters. “Does the court require a face-to-face confrontation with witnesses? Face-to-face discussions can be denied; letters can remain unopened; and faxes can be lost.”