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In re Petition of T.D.

April 06, 2004

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF T.D. AND HIS WIFE, J.D., TO ADOPT N.T.K., AND B.L.W., AS MOTHER AND NATURAL GUARDIAN OF D.J.F., A MINOR, AND D.J.F., INDIVIDUALLY, APPELLANTS, V. A.K., AS MOTHER AND NATURAL GUARDIAN OF J.M.K., A MINOR, AND J. M.K., INDIVIDUALLY, RESPONDENTS.


Stearns County District Court File Nos. F00350047, F30252266

Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Forsberg, Judge.*fn1

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

To show good cause for failing to commence a paternity action within the 30-day period required under Minn. Stat. § 259.49, subd. 1(b)(8) (2002), and Minn. Stat. § 259.52, subd. 10 (2002), a putative father must show that he lacked the necessary power, authority, or means to initiate a paternity action within the 30-day period.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Peterson, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

This appeal is from a judgment dismissing appellant's paternity action because appellant did not show that he had good cause for failing to initiate the action within 30 days after receiving notice to registered putative father. We affirm.

FACTS

During February 2002, appellant D.J.F. learned that respondent J.M.K. was pregnant and that he might be the father of the child. During August 2002, D.J.F. learned that J.M.K. was considering placing the child for adoption. The child, N.T.K., was born on October 14, 2002. On October 23, 2002, D.J.F. became aware that the child had been born, and on October 29, 2002, he registered with the father's adoption registry as a putative father*fn2.

On November 6, 2002, D.J.F. was served with a notice to registered putative father, an intent-to-claim-parental-rights form, a denial-of-paternity form, and a consent-to-adoption form as permitted under Minn. Stat. § 259.52, subd. 9 (2002). D.J.F. completed the intent-to-claim-parental-rights form and filed it with the court administrator for Stearns County on November 18, 2002, in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 259.52, subd. 10 (2002).

On December 27, 2002, respondents T.D. and J.D., the proposed adoptive parents, requested a pre-adoptive custody order with respect to N.T.K. On December 28, 2002, D.J.F. commenced a paternity action with respect to the child. On January 8, 2003, the district court granted T.D. and J.D. temporary pre-adoptive custody of the child.*fn3

T.D. and J.D. moved to dismiss D.J.F.'s paternity action. Following a hearing, the district court consolidated D.J.F.'s paternity action and the adoption proceeding for N.T.K. The court found that based on the evidence before it, there was no good cause shown for extending the 30-day period during which D.J.F. was to initiate a paternity action pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 259.52, subd. 10. The court ordered that if D.J.F. desired an evidentiary hearing on the issue of good cause, he should contact the court within 15 days of the order and schedule a hearing, and, if no hearing was scheduled, the paternity action shall be dismissed.

An attorney was appointed for D.J.F., and an evidentiary hearing on the issue of good cause was scheduled. Following the evidentiary hearing, the district court concluded that D.J.F. failed to meet his burden to prove that he had good cause for failing to commence his paternity action within the 30-day statutory period. Because there was no good cause shown for ...


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