Can my husband adopt my son if my ex has visitation? 15 Answers as of May 18, 2011

Can my husband adopt my 13 year old son he has raised since 3 if my ex-husband, who is not the biological father, has a court order with visitation? He has had no contact at all with my son for over 10 years.

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
If your ex has court ordered visitation, does he pay child support? Was he adjudicated to be the father? The reason I ask is this, if there is a man with parental rights in tact, that man must surrender his rights before your new husband can adopt. A child can only have one mother and one father. Accordingly, the answer to your question is yes, your husband may adopt your 13 YO son, but the question is whose rights, if any, must be terminated in the process.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/18/2011
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
There is no quick answer. Adoption is ultimately a termination of the parental rights. Either a parent, in this case the absent father, gives his consent and is no longer considered the legal father; or his rights are terminated because he has abandoned the child. A critical question is whether the birth father pays child support? If he has not paid child support and has no meaningful contact with the child in the 6 months prior to the filing of a petition for adoption, his rights may possibly be terminated. Payment of child support, even if it is by a tax intercept of his refunds, is considered support and a judge would probably not buy the abandonment argument; but I need to know more. Call if you want to discuss.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/16/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
If your ex-husband has not visited, not contacted, and not provided any support for your son for over a year, his parental rights (if he has any) could be terminated in an Adoption case filed by your husband. But you indicate in your question that your ex-husband is not the biological father of your son. If he was treated in your divorce by you, by him, and by the Court as the father of your son, that may not establish him as a father with parental rights in connection with the Adoption Court proceedings if the biological father can be identified. If the biological father can be identified, he may have parental rights that may need to be terminated in the adoption if he has not visited, has not contacted, and not provided any support for your son for over a year. If your ex-husband was named as your son's father on his birth certificate, that may be sufficient to establish him as a father whose parental rights can be terminated in the adoption.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/13/2011
Fox Law Firm LLC
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
Yes he can. It is easier of the biological father gives his consent. If he is willing to do so, this is the easiest and fastiest way.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/13/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
It is unusual for an ex-step parent to have visitation rights, so you may first need to carefully review the court order that created those rights and perhaps consult an attorney. However, generally a step parent adoption only requires consent of the biological parents, so the visitation rights alone should not prevent your husband from adopting - as long as the biological father also consents.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/13/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    This will take a little careful planning. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the first office visit. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC | Lori C. Obenauf
    Your husband can file a petition to adopt your son, and as a part of the step-parent adoption process, can seek to have your sons parental rights, if any, terminated. It would be helpful of your ex-husband would agree to relinquish his rights so that the adoption could proceed without a contest. You should retain an experienced attorney to assist you and your husband through the adoption process.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    In Washington, if your ex is not willing to consent to the adoption, your husband would need to convince the court that it is best for the child to have the legal father's rights terminated.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    I believe it is possible. You would first have to terminate the parental rights of your ex-husband. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    In Washington State, yes it is possible.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Yes if the child was not found to be a child issue of the marriage at the time of the divorce. It seems like he received just visitation rights so that may be the case. In any event the rights of the biological father's rights must be terminated in order to free the child for adoption.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    In your situation, the order isn't important so much as the conduct. If the father (and I assume that your ex is the legal father) has not seen the child in 10 years and has also not paid support, then you have sufficient grounds to terminate parental rights. Once done, your husband can then adopt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP
    Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP | Hal D. Bartholomew
    A step-father adoption can occur without the consent of the biological father if the court finds that the natural father either has had no contact for 12 consecutive months or has not paid child support for 12 consecutive months. Assuming neither child support or contact, the the Court can find that it is in the best interest of the child to be adopted by the step-father. You should contact a family law attorney to help you with the procedures that are necessary. The process is simpler and smoother if the biological father consents and signs the necessary form.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/13/2011
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