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Family Law Blog

Court Rules Facebook Not Correct Media to Inform of Paternity

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A woman, who sent a Facebook message to an ex about the fact that she was pregnant with his child, did not take sufficient steps to inform the father of his paternity. A court recently made the ruling in a case involving a biological father’s rights to a child.

In this particular case, the woman had a sexual relationship with the young man when she was a teen. Unknown to him, she conceived as a result of that relationship, but she did not inform him until just a few days before the baby was born. She chose to inform him by sending him a message on Facebook. The man did not see the message, and continued to remain oblivious to the existence of the child. He only found out about child a few days after the baby was born. The woman put the baby up for adoption, and the father’s rights were terminated soon after.

The events occurred in the state of Oklahoma, where the law requires that the father of a child that is born out of marriage must be notified of the child's existence. This must be done so that he can take responsibility for the child. The Oklahoma Supreme Court however was asked to consider whether the message that was sent on Facebook to the man, satisfied the requirement to inform the man about the existence of the child. The court has now ruled that it did not fulfill the requirements of informing the father of his child, and his obligations.

According to the judges, Facebook is not a reliable means of communication and therefore, the court declared that the message on Facebook did not meet the requirements.