A statutory right affecting procedure can still be considered substantive, however, if the right addresses potential injustice. [42] The court determines that by assessing the legislative intent as shown by the statute's wording.


The DCA states that the deserter "has the absolute right to remain anonymous" [43] and "The court is required to give notice to the parents of the child only if the court has knowledge of the names of the parents." [44]The legislative intent is that anonymity may motivate certain at-risk mothers to use the DCA instead of discarding the child. Consequently, the mother does not want her family, the public, or the court to associate her name with the surrender. Because anonymity assures that, the legislature gave the mother the "right" to stay anonymous. Because the father can identify the mother, the mother does not want the father to associate her name with the desertion either.


But the father is an indispensable party to the juvenile proceeding. Accordingly, only by keeping the father and the court unknown to each other can the mother be assured of remaining anonymous. The legislative intent for the anonymity right, therefore, is to assure mothers that the father and the court will remain unknown to each other. Notice to the father must therefore be avoided at all stages to achieve the legislative purpose for anonymity. Because notice is procedural, the anonymity right can be considered substantive if it was intended to address potential injustice.


A necessary party knowing about his own court proceeding cannot be an "injustice." Rather, the party's appearance serves justice. Thus, anonymity is not a right one can ultimately call substantive. Instead, anonymity is ultimately procedural because it tries to alter methods that would more effectively serve justice. Some states have enacted laws that eliminate notice to interested fathers in adoptions where the notice would likely result in harm to the mother or child. But those statutes, if they even are constitutional, still require credible evidence of the potential harm, and often a sworn affidavit from the mother. [45]Under the DCA, danger is merely a statutory presumption.


Justice in the DCA scenario is having informed and accurate rulings at the custody hearings. Absent some known threat from the father, the father's appearance serves that end. Killing one's newborn is a crime and an injustice. But notice to the father does not "cause" it. The father's notice, and the mother's self-perceived shame from it, are merely the mother's reasons for committing the crime. The injustice does not result from a court procedure. In sum, trying to convince someone not to commit a crime differs from trying to remove an injustice posed by a court rule. Only the latter will be substantive. The former remains procedural, thus valid only where it does not undermine court rules.

State ex rel. Loyd v. Lovelady, 108 Ohio St.3d 86, 2006-Ohio-161, ¶ 14. 
R.C. 2151.3524(A). 
R.C. 2151.3519. 
See for ex. Nebraska Statutes secs. 43-104-09; 43-104.23; 43-104.18. 

The Ohio Putative Father Registry–the WHAT?

I am a single man. Yet I had been in Ohio for over a year before hearing of the Ohio Putative Father Registry, and then only in a Probate Law class. The professor was covering how a child could be adopted without the birth father's consent. "ORC 3701.061: A man who has sexual intercourse with a woman is on notice that if a child is born as a result and the man is the putative father, the child may be adopted without his consent pursuant to division (B) of section 3107 of the Revised Code." That section required the man sign the Putative Father Registry within thirty days after the birth to get notice of the adoption.


Ohio Putative Father Registry: The Basics

Unwed fathers are entitled to notice of petitions to adopt their biological children. Yet many fathers lose this right by not registering timely with the Ohio putative father registry (PFR).1R.C. 3107.062. Because adoptions are probate proceedings, lawyers practicing juvenile, domestic relations, or traditional probate law may not understand how the Ohio PFR applies.  At initial consultations then, attorneys may omit counseling fathers about the registry and refer them to attorneys with more specialized experience. But the strict registration deadline, and often unknown deadline date, demand that the father register immediately. Thus the attorney should consider counseling the client about the PFR and help him register that day before referring him. This article gives the information needed to do that.

Preventing Your Infant Child From Being Adopted Without Your Consent


Consult an adoption law or family law attorney. Otherwise: An unwed father has no absolute right to veto an adoption. You must take action to preserve your rights. Whether the mother is considering adoption or not, an unwed father should, as soon as possible and preferably before the birth:

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