Speed Reads

bad decisions

Court: You really shouldn't tell him you're pregnant in a Facebook message

Facebook: Great place to announce the fact you made a killer lasagna for dinner, not such a great place to tell your ex you're having a baby and giving it up for adoption.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 6-3 last week that a Facebook message left by a woman to her former partner telling him she was pregnant was not ample enough notice to support terminating his parental rights, The Oklahoman reports. This overturned two lower court decisions.

The father, Billy McCall, testified that he was not in a serious relationship with the unnamed woman, and did not try to contact her after the last time they had sex in fall 2011. She said she sent McCall a message stating she was pregnant and planned on placing the child up for adoption, while McCall said he did not see the message until after the baby was born in June 2012. The baby was placed in the custody of prospective adoptive parents immediately after it was born.

In the majority opinion, Justice Douglas Combs wrote that leaving a message on Facebook was "an unreliable method of communication," and "this court is unwilling to declare notice via Facebook alone sufficient to meet the requirements of the due process clauses of the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions."

In the minority opinion, Justice James R. Winchester argued that a father is responsible for determining whether or not a partner becomes pregnant. "He cannot complacently wait for the female to find him in the event of a pregnancy," he wrote. The case is being sent back to district court, which will reconsider whether McCall's parental rights should be terminated.