Frequently Asked Questions

For Birth Fathers.

Does the father of the baby have to be notified of the birth and the mother's adoption plan?

Section 63-9-730 identifies persons entitled to notice of adoption proceedings. It indicates the following would be entitled to notice:

  • A father who has been adjudicated to be the father of the child,
  • A father whose consent is required pursuant to Section 63-9-310 and has not relinquished his rights,
  • A father who is registered with Responsible Father Registry,
  • A father who is recorded on the child's birth certificate,
  • A father who has openly lived with the child or the child's mother at the time preceding are initiated and is holding himself out to be the father of this child,
  • A father who has been identified as the child's father by the mother in a sworn statement,
  • A father whose consent is not required due to the father's mental limitations.

Can the father of the baby choose the adoptive parents?

He can have such input as his marital status, interactions with the birth mother and affirmative actions to protect any parental rights might allow. Obviously, a father whose consent is required may have more influence in the selection of the adoptive parents than a father whose consent is not required.

Can the biological father of the baby give notice that he intends to plan for the baby before the baby is born? What steps must a birth father take if he intends to parent the child?

Effective July 1, 2010, South Carolina's Responsible Father Registry became operational. There is no cost to register, but only a registrant father may file a claim. The claim must be mailed in and must be filed before the date of a petition for termination of parental rights has been filed and before an adoption petition has been filed. A claim filed after these dates is void. The form must be signed by the registrant father. The registration form is available at the Social Security Administration.

Can a minor father independently sign legal documents placing the child for adoption (consent to the adoption)?


Describe the process of involuntary termination of a legal father's or a named birth father's rights.

  • Parental rights may be involuntarily terminated upon a finding of one or more of the following grounds and a finding that the termination is in the best interest of the child: See § 63-7-2570 Termination of Parental Rights.
  • The child or another child in the home has been harmed as defined in Section 63-7-20, and because of the severity or repetition of the abuse or neglect, it is not reasonably likely that the home can be made safe within twelve months. In determining the likelihood that the home can be made safe, the parent's previous abuse or neglect of the child or another child in the home may be considered;
  • The child has been removed from the parent pursuant to Section 63-7-620 or Section 63-7-1660 has been out of the home for a period of six months following the adoption of a placement plan by court order or by agreement between the department and the parent, and the parent has not remedied the conditions which caused the removal;
  • The child has lived outside the home of either parent for a period of six months, during that time the parent has willfully failed to visit the child. The court may attach little or no weight to incidental visitations, but it must be shown that the parent was not prevented from visiting by the party having custody or by court order. The distance of the child's placement from the parent's home must be taken into consideration when determining the ability to visit;
  • The child has lived outside the home of either parent for a period of six months, and during that time the parent has willfully failed to support the child. Failure to support means that the parent has failed to make a material contribution to the child's welfare. A material contribution consists of either financial contributions according to the parent's means or contributions of food, clothing, shelter, or other necessities for the care of the child according to the parent's means. The court may consider all relevant circumstances in determining whether or not the parent has willfully failed to support the child, including requests for support by the custodian and the ability of the parent to provide support;
  • The presumptive legal father is not the biological father of the child, and the welfare of the child can best be served by termination of the parental rights of the presumptive legal father;
  • The parent has a diagnosable condition unlikely to change within a reasonable time including, but not limited to, alcohol or drug addiction, mental deficiency, mental illness, or extreme physical incapacity, and the condition makes the parent unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the child. It is presumed that the parent's condition is unlikely to change within a reasonable time upon proof that the parent has been required by the department or the family court to participate in a treatment program for alcohol or drug addiction, and the parent has failed two or more times to complete the program successfully or has refused at two or more separate meetings with the department to participate in a treatment program;
  • The child has been abandoned as defined in Section 63-7-20;
  • The child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the State for fifteen (15) of the most recent twenty-two (22) months; or
  • The physical abuse of a child of the parent resulted in the death or admission to the hospital for in-patient care of that child and the abuse is the act for which the parent has been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, aiding, abetting, conspiring to commit, or soliciting an offense against the person as provided for in Title 16, Chapter 3, criminal domestic violence as defined in Section 16-25-20, criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature as defined in Section 16-25-65, or the common law offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
  • A parent of the child pleads guilty or nolo contendere to or is convicted of the murder of the child's other parent.
  • Conception of a child as a result of the criminal sexual conduct of a biological parent, as found by a court of competent jurisdiction, is grounds for terminating the rights of that biological parent, unless the sentencing court makes specific findings on the record that the conviction resulted from consensual sexual conduct where neither the victim nor the actor were younger than fourteen (14) years of age nor older than eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the offense.

How is the father of the baby notified of the mother's adoption plan?

Ultimately, Notice of Adoption Proceedings is served on him if he is entitled to notice.

What happens if the mother refuses to give the name of the biological father?

If his consent is not required under S. C. Code Ann. §63-9-310 (Cum. Supp. 1992), then the mother can refuse to name him and a proper "John Doe" publication will be sufficient. See Evans v. Department of Social Services, 399 SE2d 156 (1990).

What is the difference between a legal father and a named birth father? How is the process of voluntary termination different for the two?

A legal or presumptive father is the legal husband of a birth mother at the time of birth. A named birth father is a person named by the birth mother as the genetic father of a child. A presumptive father's rights can be terminated by proving to the satisfaction of the Court that he is not the genetic father of the child or through the presumptive father's consent or for any of the first ten reasons set forth in § 63-7-2570.

Can the birth father change his mind before signing the legal consents to the adoption?


Describe the process for making a diligent effort to find the birth father if the birth mother knows his identity but he cannot be located?

An affidavit setting forth diligent efforts to locate a known birth father must accompany any complaint to allow service by publication. The affidavit typically indicates that diligent inquiries have been made at the birth father's last known address, last known place of employment, attempts made to contact him at all known phone numbers and through all known relatives. Affidavits also often include language that common known databases have been searched to no avail. The Responsible Father Registry took effect in July, 2010 The registry should be contacted as part of a diligent effort to find birth fathers. The Registry should be searched on the day the Complaint For Adoption is filed, but may be searched prior to the date of filing the Complaint for Adoption as well.