New Appellate Decision Discusses Notice in Interstate Adoptions

The South Carolina Supreme Court issued a decision earlier this week that is important for those involved with or interested in adoptions, particularly as to the issue of notice.  In this interstate adoption case, appellants John and Jane Doe directly appealed from two South Carolina Family Court Orders, both of which the Court reversed and remanded.  The first Order had dismissed appellants’ adoption action based on jurisdictional grounds, and the second Order had enforced an Illinois decree, which ordered the return of the baby girl to respondent Birthmother in Illinois.

Among its holdings, the Court stated that although the Does received indirect notice of the Illinois hearing and retained an attorney to enter a special appearance, they were never officially served notice of the hearing and were not provided with copies of the pleadings; where there is not even an attempt at service of process, the notice requirements of the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act are not met, and actual notice is insufficient to confer personal jurisdiction. As to the second order, the Illinois decree was flawed and not entitled to full faith and credit in a South Carolina court because the Does were not named as parties to the Illinois actions and were not given proper notice and an opportunity to be heard.

You can read the full text of John Doe v. Baby Girl, Opinion No. 26425, by clicking HERE.

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