Facebook Message Insufficient Notice to Terminate Parental Rights:
In re Adoption of K.P.M.A.
The Oklahoman Supreme Court ruled last month (In re Adoption of K.P.M.A.) that a Facebook message served as insufficient notice to terminate parental rights. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that it
does not believe that attempts to provide notice via Facebook comport with the requirements of due process. While the adequacy of Facebook as a means of providing notice in a due process context is an issue of first impression in Oklahoma, to date only one federal court–of at least three that have considered the issue–has allowed service of process via Facebook and even then only as a supplementary means of providing notice.
In this case, the biological father was challenging the termination of his parental rights arguing that he never received notice that the biological mother was pregnant prior to the child being adopted. According to the father, he and the mother engaged in sexual intercourse several times between August and October of 2011; however, they were not in a romantic relationship.
At some point prior to the child’s birth, the mother sent the Father a message via Facebook informing him that she was pregnant and planning to give the child up for adoption. The father claims he did not read the message until after the child’s birth which occurred in June of 2012.
The child was adopted shortly after birth. The new parents moved to terminate the rights of the biological parents. The mother willingly agreed but the father contested the termination proceeding. The father was unsuccessful at the trial court stage and during his initial appeal. However, his fortunes changed when his case reached the Oklahoma Supreme Court.