Section 39M of chapter 119 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:-
(i) A parent’s purposeful action to avoid proper service of process of court documents related to the custody or legal status of their child shall be considered neglect and abandonment for the purposes of a special findings determination pursuant to subsection (b); provided, however, that a court shall not consider improper service of process to be neglect or abandonment pursuant to said subsection (b) where a parent lives outside of the United States, in a rural area or in any other location where proper service of process is not possible; and provided further that if unable to locate and serve documents in hand, where publication may not also be feasible, electronic notification should be considered an acceptable alternate service.
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