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    mandisita's Avatar
    mandisita Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Oct 4, 2007, 01:30 PM
    Child abandonment/ termination of parental rights/ step mother adoption ?
    MY husbands exwife give birth to his(our) daughter in Feb of 2006. He was in Iraq and she did not notify him of the birth. She was using crystal meth and the baby was born addicted. Someone notified the red cross after seeing her military ID and a month later my husband found out. The baby went into rehab and then to foster care until he could get emergency leave and get custody when she was 2 months old. He had to return to Iraq and his aunt was deemed a foster parent and she took care of the baby until my husbands tour was over.

    Exwife has not seen baby since my husband was back to get custody when she was two months old. She has since had another child and is reportedly using drugs again. She has two children older than our daughter that she does not have custody of due to drug use. He divorced her, has full custody and health services stated there is to be "no contact between mother and child." can we file for child abandonment? The baby was born in Washington, lived in Oregon, with his aunt, which is where the divorce was filed, then in California with us, and we have now moved to Maryland (w're a military family.) we're probably moving again in about a month- to virginia, this will be our final move. Our daughter is 20 months old now.

    Also- if we cannot file for child abandonment- can we file to terminate exwifes parental rights. When she found out she owed us child support (the woman is clueless... she wasn't even aware she was divorced- despite the fact that she was served) she told us she would agree to give up her parental rights if we forgave the year of child support she has not paid.

    Am I only allowed to adopt as a stepmother? I can do that regardless of whether parental rights have been terminated, correct?

    Sorry for all the details- I just want to be clear. We had the money in savings to start all this and talk to a lawyer, but we got a bill from exwifes dentist for $700 and my husband is responsible since they were separated but not divorced at the time. So we're back at square one.

    Any information you can give me would help

    Thank you very much

    *edit* I just found that post about reliquishing parental rights. If she gives hers up she can still be liable for child support? I just want to know- we've paid over $3000 in the last year of debt that was HER fault and if I can get some of that money back, I want to.
    macksmom's Avatar
    macksmom Posts: 1,787, Reputation: 152
    Ultra Member

    Oct 4, 2007, 03:56 PM
    Ok first off, you cannot adopted the child while the exwife still has parental rights.

    The easiest way to do this all, is if the mother would agree to sign over her rights. Then there would be no court battle and you could adopt. If she signs over her rights she will only be responsible for the child support that is back dated. After the adoption she will not be responsible for anything.

    You can file both abandoment and to terminate her rights... abandonment just leads to terminating rights so you might as well petition to have her rights terminated. From what you have stated, you have a very strong case to do so. Start gathering all the evidence you can (if you haven't already). Then when you can get an attorney, take it all there and petition to have her rights terminated. If the judge agrees that it is in the best interest of the child, and terminated her parental rights you can go forward with the adoption.

    If I were you, I would agree to "forgive the year she didn't pay" and just get her to willingly sign over her parental rights. I mean, honestly, what you will have to pay for attorney fees if you try to terminate her rights will cost close to what she would be paying for that year. It will be much easier that way.
    JuliannaG's Avatar
    JuliannaG Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Nov 6, 2007, 05:36 PM
    Like Michelle said, you can't adopt her until the mother's rights are terminated, HOWEVER, it sounds like she has met more than one of Maryland's requirements for grounds for termination of parental rights, especially if she can be considered incapacitated by her drug use.
    Maryland's grounds for termination are:

    Abandonment or Extreme Parental Disinterest


    Mental Illness or Deficiency

    Alcohol or Drug Induced Incapacity

    Felony Conviction/Incarceration

    Failure of Reasonable Efforts

    Abuse/Neglect or Loss of Rights of Another Child
    Sexual Abuse

    Failure to Maintain Contact

    Failure to Provide Support

    Child Judged in Need of Services/Dependent

    Child's Best Interest

    Child in care 15 of 22 months (or less)

    Felony assault of child or sibling

    Murder/Manslaughter of sibling child

    It's possible you'd have to file with her home state, but it doesn't sound like you'd have any trouble convincing a judge to terminate her rights. She'll still be on the hook for the back child support, and you won't have to have further contact with her. You won't get any further child support, but it doesn't sound like she's paying it at all right now. Maryland will also work with you to garnish her wages and/or withhold her income tax returns to pay the child support she owes, just so you know.

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