PUTATIVE FATHER REGISTRIES
32A-5-20. Putative father registry; notice; penalty.
A. The purpose of the putative father registry is to protect the parental rights of fathers who affirmatively assume responsibility for children they may have fathered and to expedite adoptions of children whose biological fathers are unwilling to assume responsibility for their children by registering with the putative father registry or otherwise acknowledging their children. The registry does not relieve the obligation of mothers to identify known fathers.
B. A putative father registry shall be established by the department of health to record the names and addresses of:
(1) any person adjudicated by a court of this state to be the father of a child;
(2) any person who has filed with the registry before or after birth of a child out-of-wedlock, a notice of intent to claim paternity of the child;
(3) any person who has filed with the registry an instrument acknowledging paternity; or
(4) any person adjudicated by a court of another state or territory of the United States to be the father of an out-of-wedlock child, when a certified copy of the court order has been filed with the registry.
C. A person filing a notice of intent to claim paternity of a child or an acknowledgment of paternity shall include in the notice the following:
(1) his name;
(2) his current address;
(3) the mother's name and any other identifying information requested by the department of health; and
(4) the child's name, if known, and any other identifying information requested by the department of health.
D. If the person filing the notice of intent to claim paternity of a child or acknowledgment changes his address, the person shall notify the department of health of his new address in the manner prescribed by the department of health.
E. A person who has filed a notice of intent to claim paternity may at any time revoke a notice of intent to claim paternity previously filed. Upon receipt by the registry of the notice of revocation, the revoked notice of intent to claim paternity shall be deemed a nullity nunc pro tunc.
F. No registration fee shall be charged for registering the intent to claim paternity of a child or acknowledgment of paternity. The department of health may charge a reasonable fee as prescribed by regulation for processing searches of the putative father registry.
G. An unrevoked notice of intent to claim paternity of a child may be introduced in evidence by any party in any proceeding in which that fact may be relevant.
H. The department of health shall, upon request, provide the names and addresses of persons listed with the registry to any court, the department, an agency, the petitioner's attorney or the mother of the child. The information shall not be divulged to any other person, except upon order of the court for good cause shown. If the registry has not received a notice of intent to claim paternity or an acknowledgment of paternity, the department of health shall provide a written statement to that effect to the person making the inquiry. The person making inquiry shall provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the department of health for the department's response to the inquiry.
I. The department of health may promulgate any regulations or forms necessary to implement the provisions of this section.
J. Any person who intentionally and unlawfully releases information from the putative father registry to the public or makes any other unlawful use of the information in violation of the provisions of this section is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978.
POLICY AND PRACTICE
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