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    chubbs71's Avatar
    chubbs71 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Nov 10, 2008, 06:31 PM
    Adopting my stepson
    My wife has custody of her son and his father has never been in the picture. He doesn't pay child support and the only reason he knows what he looks like is because he was sent a picture. I want to know if I can adopt my stepson or if his biological father has to sign over rights?
    Synnen's Avatar
    Synnen Posts: 7,927, Reputation: 2443
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    #2

    Nov 11, 2008, 06:59 AM

    The biological parent ALWAYS has to sign over rights before an adoption can take place. The only exception to that is if the court were to sever parental rights for some reason--like abuse or the inability to find the birth parent for a stepparent to adopt.

    Why isn't he paying child support?That should be court ordered!

    Your best bet is to get an attorney that specializes in family/adoption law and start from there.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #3

    Nov 11, 2008, 07:17 AM

    Yes you can adopt and yes the bio father has to sign over rights or have them terminated for cause. The good news is that, since you are seeking to adopt, the courts will be willing to allow you to.

    So get an attorney to draw up the adoption petititon and go from there.
    macksmom's Avatar
    macksmom Posts: 1,787, Reputation: 152
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    #4

    Nov 11, 2008, 08:26 AM

    You can go two routes on this.

    The mother can petition to have the right of the father terminated to allow for you to adopt the child. An attorney will explain what steps need to be taken to achieve this. It usually involves the bio father not attempting to contact the child AND not paying child support for a period of at least 1 year (this of course can vary state to state). The only downsize to this route is the bio father must be notified as to the petition to terminate his rights. He can objection to the petition and fight to keep his rights... which is most cases he will will.

    The second route would be to get the bio father to willingly relinquish his parental rights to the child... in which case you can adopt. In Ohio, it's as simple as having an attorney drawing up the paper and the bio father just signs its and gets its notarized. He doesn't have to be present at the hearing or anything. In Ohio, once the adoption is final, a new birth certificate will be issued with the adoptive father listed at the true/legal father.

    I believe all states require you to have an adoption attorney. You can call around your area and see who offers free consultations and go sit down and talk about your options.

    Good luck!
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #5

    Nov 11, 2008, 08:31 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by macksmom View Post
    You can go two routes on this.
    I kind of disagree that this is two separate routes. A petition for adoption has to be prepared. A part of that petition will be the termination of the bio parent's rights. If the bio-parent doesn't agree to termination, then the petition must include grounds for involuntary termination. In either case, they are both part of the adoption, not separate actions.
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    macksmom Posts: 1,787, Reputation: 152
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    #6

    Nov 11, 2008, 08:41 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    I kind of disagree that this is two separate routes. A petition for adoption has to be prepared. A part of that petition will be the termination of the bio parent's rights. If the bio-parent doesn't agree to termination, then the petition must include grounds for involuntary termination. In either case, they are both part of the adoption, not separate actions.
    Well they are two separate routes within a single adoption process... but yes, I think the routes are separate.
    You can either:

    A. try to get the parental rights of the bio father terminated

    Or

    B. have him willingly relinquish his rights... which is considered an uncontested adoption


    These were areas on our adoption papers that had to be marked at to which way were were proceeding with the adoption.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #7

    Nov 11, 2008, 08:46 AM

    That may be in your jurisdiction. But, the attorney preparing the adoption petition is going to determine whether he's got a voluntary relinquishment or not before filing.
    macksmom's Avatar
    macksmom Posts: 1,787, Reputation: 152
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    #8

    Nov 11, 2008, 08:50 AM

    Yes, exactly...
    the attorney preparing the adoption petition is going to determine whether he's got a voluntary relinquishment or not before filing.
    So those are still two separate routes the family can take. Go for termination or go for willingly relinquishment.

    Kind of a silly point to be agruing... not sure why you brought it up... as the information itself is still correct.
    Synnen's Avatar
    Synnen Posts: 7,927, Reputation: 2443
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    #9

    Nov 11, 2008, 08:52 AM

    Let's put it this way:

    The first step in adopting a step-child should be to consult an attorney that specializes in family or adoption law.

    The ATTORNEY will determine from there what the next step is.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #10

    Nov 11, 2008, 08:57 AM

    The reason I made an issue of it is because you made it sound like there is a choice of which way to go. There isn't. Bottomline is the bio parent's rights have to be terminated. How that happens depends on the bio parent more than the parent adopting.
    macksmom's Avatar
    macksmom Posts: 1,787, Reputation: 152
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    #11

    Nov 11, 2008, 09:43 AM

    Well let's just leave at we agree to disagree.

    I believe there IS a choice.

    I had the choice to get my daughter's bio father's right terminated as he had not attempted to see her or paid child support in a period of one year. Or I had the choice to approach her bio father and see if he was willing to relinquish his parental rights on his own.

    I could have gone down either path... because the courts would have terminated his rights. But I chose to have him willingly relinquish his rights.

    Yes, the two choices lead to the same ONE result... the adoption of the child.
    Synnen's Avatar
    Synnen Posts: 7,927, Reputation: 2443
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    #12

    Nov 11, 2008, 10:11 AM

    /sigh

    It's all semantics, and it isn't helping the OP.

    REGARDLESS whether the rights are terminated (which, actually, is hard to do in most cases) or voluntarily relinquished, the steps are as follows:

    1. Get a lawyer
    2. Parental rights for bio parent are dissolved by a court
    3. Adoption papers are drawn up
    4. Adoption is recogized by a court.

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