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					                                 South Carolina General Assembly
                                     118th Session, 2009-2010

S. 284

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Senators Alexander, L. Martin, Campbell and Campsen
Document Path: l:\council\bills\ms\7134ac09.docx
Companion/Similar bill(s): 3311

Introduced in the Senate on January 15, 2009
Currently residing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary

Summary: Parental rights


HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

    Date     Body   Action Description with journal page number
 1/15/2009   Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-8
 1/15/2009   Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-8
 1/23/2009   Senate Referred to Subcommittee: Sheheen (ch), Knotts, Campsen, Lourie, Campbell
 3/18/2009   Senate Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary SJ-1
 3/19/2009          Scrivener's error corrected
 4/14/2009   Senate Committee Amendment Adopted SJ-42
 4/15/2009          Scrivener's error corrected
 4/28/2009   Senate Recommitted to Committee on Judiciary


VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

1/15/2009
3/18/2009
3/19/2009
4/14/2009
4/15/2009
 1   Indicates Matter Stricken
 2   Indicates New Matter
 3
 4   COMMITTEE AMENDMENT ADOPTED
 5   April 14, 2009
 6
 7                                                       S. 284
 8
 9   Introduced by Senators Alexander, L. Martin, Campbell and
10   Campsen
11
12   S. Printed 4/14/09--S.                  [SEC 4/15/09 11:38 AM]
13   Read the first time January 15, 2009.
14




     [284-1]
 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9                       A BILL
10
11   TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
12   1976, BY ADDING SUBARTICLE 8 TO ARTICLE 1,
13   CHAPTER 9, TITLE 63 SO AS TO ESTABLISH THE
14   RESPONSIBLE FATHER REGISTRY WITHIN THE
15   DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES AND TO PROVIDE
16   THAT A UNMARRIED BIOLOGICAL FATHER OF A CHILD,
17   OR A MALE CLAIMING TO BE THE UNMARRIED
18   BIOLOGICAL FATHER OF A CHILD, MUST FILE A CLAIM
19   OF PATERNITY WITH THIS REGISTRY IN ORDER TO
20   RECEIVE NOTICE OF A TERMINATION OF PARENTAL
21   RIGHTS ACTION OR AN ADOPTION ACTION PERTAINING
22   TO THIS CHILD, TO PROVIDE THAT FAILURE TO FILE A
23   CLAIM CONSTITUTES IMPLIED IRREVOCABLE CONSENT
24   TO THE TERMINATION OF HIS PARENTAL RIGHTS AND
25   TO THE CHILD’S ADOPTION, TO PROVIDE THAT
26   CERTAIN CONDUCT BY AN UNMARRIED BIOLOGICAL
27   FATHER IS DEEMED TO BE NOTICE TO THIS FATHER OF
28   THE BIOLOGICAL MOTHER’S PREGNANCY, AND TO
29   FURTHER ESTABLISH FILING PROCEDURES AND
30   PROCEDURES FOR THE OPERATION OF THE REGISTRY;
31   TO AMEND SECTION 63-9-730, RELATING TO PERSONS
32   AND ENTITIES ENTITLED TO NOTICE OF TERMINATION
33   OF PARENTAL RIGHTS ACTIONS AND ADOPTION
34   ACTIONS, SO AS TO INCLUDE A PERSON WHO HAS
35   REGISTERED WITH THE RESPONSIBLE FATHER
36   REGISTRY; TO AMEND SECTION 63-7-2530, RELATING TO
37   THE FILING OF A PETITION FOR TERMINATION OF
38   PARENTAL RIGHTS, SO AS TO REQUIRE A TERMINATION
39   OF PARENTAL RIGHTS ACTION TO BE HEARD WITHIN
40   ONE HUNDRED TWENTY DAYS OF THE DATE THE
41   PETITION IS FILED AND TO PROVIDE CONDITIONS
42   UNDER WHICH A CONTINUANCE MAY BE GRANTED; TO

     [284]                   1
 1   AMEND SECTION 63-7-2550, RELATING TO PERSONS OR
 2   ENTITIES ENTITLED TO BE SERVED WITH A PETITION
 3   FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS, SO AS TO
 4   FURTHER SPECIFY THE AGE AS FOURTEEN FOR
 5   SERVING A CHILD, TO PROVIDE SERVICE ON THE
 6   GUARDIAN AD LITEM OF A CHILD UNDER FOURTEEN
 7   YEARS OF AGE, AND TO SPECIFY THE NOTICE
 8   PROVISIONS      APPLICABLE TO   AN   UNMARRIED
 9   BIOLOGICAL FATHER OF A CHILD WHOSE PARENTAL
10   RIGHTS ARE BEING TERMINATED.
11     Amend Title To Conform
12
13   Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South
14   Carolina:
15
16   SECTION 1. Article 1, Chapter 9, Title 63 of the 1976 Code is
17   amended by adding:
18
19                              “Subarticle 8
20
21                      Responsible Father Registry
22
23   Section 63-9-810.      The State has a compelling interest in
24   promptly providing stable and permanent homes for adoptive
25   children and in preventing the disruption of adoptive placements.
26   It is the purpose of the Responsible Father Registry to provide
27   notice to unmarried biological fathers who affirmatively assume
28   responsibility for children they may have fathered by registering
29   with the Responsible Father Registry.
30
31   Section 63-9-820.      (A) There is established within the
32   Department of Social Services the Responsible Father Registry,
33   which the department shall maintain.
34      (B) As used in this section:
35        (1) ‘Department’ means the Department of Social Services.
36        (2) ‘Registrant’ means an unmarried biological father or a
37   male eighteen years of age or older who claims to be the unmarried
38   biological father of a child.
39        (3) ‘Registry’ means the Responsible Father Registry as
40   established by this section.
41        (4) ‘Unmarried biological father’ means a male eighteen
42   years of age or older who is not married to the biological mother of
43   a child of whom he is or claims to be the natural father.

     [284]                            2
 1      (C) Except as set forth in Section 63-9-730(B), in order to
 2   preserve the right to notice of an adoption proceeding or the right
 3   to notice of a petition for termination of parental rights, a registrant
 4   must file a claim of paternity with the registry. A claim of
 5   paternity filed with the registry must not be deemed to be an
 6   acknowledgment of paternity, and a claim of paternity filed with
 7   the registry is not admissible as evidence in any proceeding except
 8   by order of the court for good cause shown.
 9      (D) Except for a person who is required to receive notice
10   pursuant to Section 63-9-730(B), an unmarried biological father’s
11   failure to file a claim of paternity with the registry constitutes an
12   implied irrevocable waiver of the father’s right to be notified of
13   any proceedings pertaining to the termination of his parental rights
14   and to the child’s adoption. Such waiver includes a waiver of any
15   right of the parent to be named as a party in or served with a
16   summons or any other document prepared in conjunction with a
17   termination of parental rights proceeding or an adoption
18   proceeding.
19      (E) A claim of paternity must be signed by the registrant and
20   must include:
21         (1) the registrant’s name, address, and date of birth;
22         (2) the mother’s name and, if known, her address and date of
23   birth;
24         (3) if known, the child’s name, place of birth, and date of
25   birth;
26         (4) if known, the date, county, and state of conception of the
27   child; and
28         (5) the date the claim is filed.
29      (F) The claim of paternity may be filed with the registry before
30   or after the birth of the child; however, a claim of paternity filed
31   with the registry is null and void if it is filed on or after the date a
32   petition for termination of parental rights or a petition for adoption
33   is filed.
34      (G) Only the registrant may file the claim of paternity. No
35   other person may file the claim of paternity on behalf of the
36   registrant. The registrant must notify the registry of any change of
37   address in the manner prescribed by the department. Failure to
38   notify the registry of a change of address in the manner prescribed
39   by the department is deemed to be a waiver of a right to notice or
40   to any other right to which the registrant may be entitled as a result
41   of filing a claim of paternity pursuant to this section, including, but
42   not limited to, notice by publication.


     [284]                              3
 1      (H) The department shall issue a certificate to the registrant
 2   verifying that the claim of paternity, revocation, or change of
 3   address has been filed.
 4      (I) No fee may be charged for filing a claim of paternity, a
 5   revocation, or a change of address with the registry. The
 6   department may charge a fee not to exceed twenty-five dollars for
 7   processing searches of the registry.
 8      (J) A registrant may at any time revoke a claim of paternity
 9   and shall file the revocation with the department in the manner
10   prescribed by the department. The filing of a revocation of a
11   claim of paternity with the registry in the manner prescribed by the
12   department makes the prior claim of paternity filed by the
13   registrant null and void.
14      (K) Except as set forth in Section 63-9-730(B), no unmarried
15   biological father who fails to file a claim of paternity with the
16   registry is entitled to notification of any adoption proceeding or of
17   any termination of parental rights proceeding concerning the
18   unmarried biological father’s child.
19      (L) An unmarried biological father’s failure to file a claim of
20   paternity with the registry is deemed to be a lack of proper
21   diligence under Section 63-9-770(B). An unmarried biological
22   father’s lack of knowledge of the biological mother’s pregnancy
23   does not excuse an unmarried biological father’s failure to file a
24   claim of paternity pursuant to this chapter. An unmarried
25   biological father’s sexual intercourse or his consent to artificial
26   insemination with the biological mother is deemed to be notice to
27   the unmarried biological father of the biological mother’s
28   pregnancy.
29      (M)(1) The registry is not available for public inspection and is
30   not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act
31   pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 30 except that:
32            (a) the department shall disclose the contents of the
33   registry upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction for good
34   cause shown;
35            (b) the department may file a written request with the
36   registry regarding a child for whom the department has an open
37   case for child welfare services;
38            (c) the department shall provide the names and addresses
39   of all registrants who have filed a claim of paternity for the child in
40   question upon written request of a child placing agency or an
41   attorney assisting in the adoption or termination of parental rights
42   of a child. The written request may be filed with the registry
43   before or after the birth of the child and must include:

     [284]                              4
 1              (i) the mother’s name and, if known, her address and
 2   date of birth;
 3              (ii) if known, the child’s date of birth and place of birth;
 4   and
 5              (iii) if known, the date, county, and state of conception
 6   of the child.
 7         (2) If a written request is submitted by or to the department
 8   pursuant to item (b) or (c) of subsection (M)(1) and no claim of
 9   paternity for the registrant is found, the department shall issue a
10   certificate of diligent search verifying that a search of the registry
11   has been conducted and that no claim of paternity regarding that
12   registrant or child was found.
13      (N) A registrant who has filed a claim of paternity must be
14   served with notice of any adoption proceeding and any termination
15   of parental rights proceeding involving any child identified in the
16   registrant’s filed claim of paternity within ten days of receipt of the
17   registrant’s name and address by the attorney or child placing
18   agency pursuant to item (c) of subsection (M)(1).
19      (O) Should the department issue a certificate of diligent search,
20   the attorney for the requesting party in an adoption proceeding or
21   in a termination of parental rights proceeding shall file the
22   certificate of diligent search with the court in which the proceeding
23   is pending within ten days of receipt of the certificate.
24      (P) A registrant’s claim of paternity shall remain on the registry
25   until nineteen years after the claim of paternity has been filed with
26   the registry, at which time the information may be purged from the
27   registry. A registrant’s claim of paternity shall be purged from the
28   registry if the registrant revokes his claim of paternity pursuant to
29   subsection (J).
30      (Q) The department may promulgate regulations and forms
31   necessary to implement the provisions of this section. The
32   department shall produce and distribute a pamphlet or publication
33   informing the public of the Responsible Father Registry. The
34   pamphlet or publication shall indicate the procedure for registering
35   and the consequences for failure to register.
36      (R)(1) Any unauthorized use, or attempted unauthorized use, of
37   the registry is expressly prohibited, and any person or organization
38   seeking, receiving, using, or publishing, or attempting to do so, of
39   any information contained in the registry in violation of this
40   section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be
41   fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not
42   more than six months, or both.


     [284]                              5
 1        (2) A person who knowingly, maliciously, or in bad faith
 2   files a false claim of paternity with the registry is guilty of a
 3   misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than
 4   five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months,
 5   or both.
 6      (S) The provisions of this section do not apply to military
 7   servicemembers on active duty during any period of time that their
 8   service falls under the protection of the Servicemembers Civil
 9   Relief Act, currently codified at 50 U.S.C.A. Section 501, et seq.”
10
11   SECTION 2. Section 63-9-730(B) of the 1976 Code, as added by
12   Act 361 of 2008, is amended to read:
13
14      “(B) The following persons or agencies are entitled to notice as
15   provided in subsection (A) of this section:
16         (1) any a person adjudicated by a court in this State to be the
17   father of the child;
18         (2) any a person or agency required to give consent or
19   relinquishment pursuant to subsections (A) or (B) of Section
20   63-9-310(A) or (B) from whom consent or relinquishment cannot
21   be obtained;
22         (3) the father of the child whose consent or relinquishment is
23   not required pursuant to items (4) or (5) of subsection (A) of
24   Section 63-9-310 a person who has properly registered with the
25   Responsible Father Registry at the time of the filing of the petition
26   for termination of parental rights or adoption;
27         (4) any a person who is recorded on the child’s birth
28   certificate as the child’s father. The Department of Health and
29   Environmental Control shall release this information to any
30   attorney representing a party in an adoption or termination of
31   parental rights action pursuant to a subpoena;
32         (5) any a person who is openly living with the child or the
33   child’s mother, or both, at the time the adoption proceeding is
34   initiated, and who is holding himself out to be the child’s father;
35         (6) any a person who has been identified as the child’s father
36   by the mother in a sworn, written statement; and
37         (7) any a person from whom consent or relinquishment is
38   not required pursuant to item (2) of subsection (A) of Section
39   63-9-320(A)(2).”
40
41   SECTION 3. Section 63-7-2530 of the 1976 Code, as added by
42   Act 361 of 2008, is amended to read:
43

     [284]                             6
 1      “Section 63-7-2530. (A) A petition seeking termination of
 2   parental rights may be filed by the Department of Social Services
 3   or any interested party.
 4      (B) The department may file an action for termination of
 5   parental rights without first seeking the court’s approval of a
 6   change in the permanency plan pursuant to Section 63-7-1680 and
 7   without first seeking an amendment of the placement plan pursuant
 8   to Section 63-7-1700.
 9      (C) The hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights
10   must be held within one hundred twenty days of the date the
11   termination of parental rights petition is filed. A party may request
12   a continuance that would result in the hearing being held more than
13   one hundred twenty days after the petition was filed, and the court
14   may grant a continuance in its discretion. If a continuance is
15   granted, the court must issue a written order scheduling the case
16   for trial on a date and time certain.”
17
18   SECTION 4. Section 63-7-2550 of the 1976 Code, as added by
19   Act 361 of 2008, is amended to read:
20
21      “Section 63-7-2550.      (A) A summons and petition for
22   termination of parental rights must be filed with the court and
23   served on:
24        (1) the child, if the child is fourteen years of age or older;
25        (2) the child’s guardian ad litem, appointed pursuant to
26   Section 63-7-2560(B), if the child is under fourteen years of age;
27        (3) the parents of the child; and
28        (3)(4) an agency with placement or custody of the child.
29      (B) The right of an unmarried biological father, as defined in
30   Section 63-9-820, to receive notice of a termination of parental
31   rights action must be governed by the notice provisions of Section
32   63-9-730(B)(1), (3), (4), (5), and (6), and Subarticle 8, Chapter 9.”
33
34   SECTION 5. If any section, subsection, item, subitem, paragraph,
35   subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for
36   any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding
37   shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining
38   portions of this act, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it
39   would have passed this act, and each and every section, subsection,
40   item, subitem, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase,
41   and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more
42   other sections, subsections, items, subitems, paragraphs,
43   subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may

     [284]                             7
 1   be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise
 2   ineffective.
 3
 4   SECTION 6. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor,
 5   except that those provisions of Section 1 of this act pertaining to
 6   the establishment of the Responsible Father Registry and the
 7   receipt of claims of paternity by the registry take effect six months
 8   after approval by the Governor and those provisions of Section 1
 9   of this act and Section 63-9-730 of the 1976 Code, as amended by
10   Section 2 of this act, affecting an unmarried biological father’s
11   right to receive notice in a termination of parental rights or an
12   adoption action by filing a claim of paternity and Section
13   63-7-2550(B) of the 1976 Code, as added by Section 4 of this act,
14   apply to termination of parental rights actions and adoption actions
15   filed one year after approval by the Governor.
16                                 ----XX----
17




     [284]                             8

				
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