Abernathy v. Baby Boy, 313 S.C. 27, 437 S.E. 2d 25 (S.C. 1993)
This is an action for termination of parental rights and adoption of the minor child.
The family court denied the adoption and awarded custody to the father. The Supreme
Court affirmed the decision of the family court. The natural parents of the minor child
were not married. The father offered to support the child and the mother. The mother
consented to the plaintiff's adopting the child. The father filed a response to the adoption
petition and requested custody of the minor child. The petitioners argued that the
father's consent to the adoption petition was not required because he failed to comply
literally with the state's statute which provides that a father provide for support of his
child before the state is compelled to seek his consent to the adoption. The court held
"an unwed father must demonstrate a full commitment to the responsibilities of
parenthood." This responsibility includes participating in the child's rearing. The biology
only is not sufficient to guarantee constitutional protection. The father's opportunity to
demonstrate the responsibility of child rearing is of limited duration because the child is
in need of permanency and stability.
TPR Grounds: Failure to Support