from the Superior Court in Pima County The Honorable K.C.
Stanford, Judge No. S20140221
of the Court of Appeals, Division Two 239 Ariz. 184');">239 Ariz. 184 (App.
2016) VACATED IN PART, AFFIRMED IN PART
Michele Martin (argued), Tucson, Attorney for Frank R.
J. Egbert (argued), Kerry A. Hodges, Jennings, Strouss &
Salmon, P.L.C., Phoenix, Attorneys for Mother Goose Adoptions
Patrick Lacroix, Arizona Children's Law, LLC, Tucson,
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae David and Carolyn Price
JUSTICE BRUTINEL authored the opinion of the Court, in which
CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, VICE CHIEF JUSTICE PELANDER, and
JUSTICES TIMMER and BOLICK joined.
Frank R/s parental rights were terminated because he did not
register with the Arizona putative fathers registry as
required by A.R.S. § 8-106.01. Failure to register is a
statutory ground for severance, and we hold that putative
fathers must comply with § 8-106.01 to avoid severance
pursuant to A.R.S. § 8-533(B)(6). Because Frank did not
register, although he had both opportunity and time to do so,
the juvenile court did not err when it severed his parental
rights. I. BACKGROUND
In the summer of 2013, Rachel (18) and Frank (21), both
California residents, developed an intimate relationship, and
in early August learned that Rachel was pregnant. Several
weeks later their relationship unraveled, and the couple
separated. After their separation and during the early
pregnancy, Frank did not provide Rachel with financial or
In December 2013, Rachel called the Adoption Network Law
Center ("ANLC") to place the expected baby for
adoption and gave an advisor Frank's name and home phone
number as the likely father. She did not identify any other
likely father. In February 2014, Frank told Wendy McGreevy,
an attorney at ANLC, "If the baby turns out to be mine,
I will 100 percent take the baby and raise it." ANLC
subsequently declined to accept the baby for adoption,
recognizing that the adoption would likely be contested.
In March 2014, unbeknownst to Frank, Rachel called Mother
Goose Adoptions in Arizona seeking to place her unborn child
for adoption. Rachel told Mother Goose she had no idea who
the child's father was and did not tell Mother Goose
about her rejected application with ANLC (leaving an
application question blank). Rachel later signed an affidavit
falsely stating no man had acknowledged or claimed paternity
of the child or had provided or promised to provide her
support during the pregnancy, and there was no person she had
reason to believe had an interest in the child.
On May 5, Rachel gave birth to E.E. in Maricopa County, with
the adoptive mother in attendance. Three days later, Rachel
executed a Relinquishment of Parental Rights for Adoption,
relinquishing her rights to Mother Goose. The next day, Frank
asked Rachel about the baby through Facebook, and Rachel
responded that the baby was not his. Frank continued to ask
about the baby and wrote, "if [it's] mine, [I'm]
going to support the baby." Mother Goose filed a
petition for termination of the parent-child relationship and
appointment of a guardian for the child on May 14 in Pima
County Superior Court.
In that severance petition, Mother Goose alleged that Rachel
resided in Arizona at the hotel it had arranged for her while
she was in Phoenix. Further alleging that the identity of the
child's father was unknown, Mother Goose sought to
terminate Rachel's rights pursuant to A.R.S. §
8-533(B)(7) and the rights of any potential father pursuant
to A.R.S. § 8-533(B)(5), claiming that no putative
father had timely served Rachel with a paternity action after
service of notice pursuant to A.R.S. § 8-106(G). That
notice, which is required in an adoption under A.R.S. §
8-106, was served by publication in Maricopa County, with the
last notice appearing in May 2014. The published notices
listed Rachel's address as her Phoenix hotel, instead of
her permanent California address, and purported to serve only
"John Doe" with no other identifying information.
On July 30, 2014, the juvenile court terminated the parental
rights of "John Doe" and Rachel and relinquished
jurisdiction to Tennessee, the adoptive parents' home
state, pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-1032(A)(2).
Meanwhile, Frank had seen a photograph of E.E. on Facebook
and believed the child looked like him. In early July, he
filed a petition to establish parental rights in California.
Rachel was served with the California petition on July 30,
coincidently the same day ...