New Mexico Statutes Chapter 32A. Children's Code § 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. If a father-child relationship has not been established pursuant to the New Mexico Uniform Parentage Act, a petitioner for adoption of or termination of parental rights regarding a child shall obtain a certificate of search of the putative father registry.

I. If a petitioner for adoption of or termination of parental rights regarding a child has reason to believe that the conception or birth of the child may have occurred in another state, the petitioner shall also obtain a certificate of search from the putative father registry, if any, in that state.

J. The department of health shall furnish to the requester a certificate of search of the registry on request of any court, a state agency, the department, the petitioner's attorney or the mother of the child.  The information shall not be disclosed to any other person, except upon order of the court for good cause shown.  The requester shall furnish the department with a stamped, self-addressed reply envelope.

K. A certificate provided by the department of health shall be signed on behalf of the department of health and state that:

(1) a search has been made of the registry;  and

(2) a registration containing the information required to identify the registrant:

(a) has been found and is attached to the certificate of search;  or

(b) has not been found.

L. A petitioner shall file the certificate of search with the district court before a proceeding for adoption of or termination of parental rights regarding a child may be concluded.

M. Subject to any rules established by the New Mexico supreme court, a certificate of search of the registry of paternity in this or another state is admissible in a proceeding for adoption of or termination of parental rights regarding a child and, if relevant, in other legal proceedings.

N. The department of health may promulgate any regulations or forms necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

O. 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 .


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