Does the spouse of someone who adopts a child have legal child custody rights? 14 Answers as of November 17, 2011

My 15 year old sister was adopted. Her adopted mother died so now she lives with the husband. He didn't adopt my sister so does he have rights over her? Can he get something notarized to sign over his rights to me?

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Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
No adoption, no rights.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/17/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
As a third party who raised the child, the step parent may file an action to seek custody of the minor child. Until that occurs, they will have no enforceable legal rights to custody.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 11/16/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
No, the spouse of the parent who has adopted does not have rights. That spouse should file for adoption immediately or you should file for the adoption immediately.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/15/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Generally, no. But, the child's mother could have designated her husband as the child's legal guardian in the event of her death or he could have applied for and been appointed the child's legal guardian. If there is no living parent and no court appointed guardian, then you can apply to be appointed as the child's guardian. In Colorado , a 15 year old's preference for a guardian will be honored in most cases.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 11/15/2011
Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.
Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C. | Richard A. Gray
In Virginia: Since the husband did not adopt the child, his legal custodial rights have also terminated. In order to gain any legal custodial rights you will have to file a petition for guardianship in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in the jurisdiction where either you or the child resides. If the Court grants your petition after a hearing where all interested parties have a right to appear and be heard, then and only then would you have any legal rights. A notarized document would not suffice to turn over legal rights to you.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 11/15/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    If he never adopted her, he has no parental rights. You can file a petition with the Probate Court to be appointed as your sister's guardian.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/15/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    You should be able to file for guardianship over her. He is not able to sign anything if he doesn't have legal rights over her through adoption or guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 11/15/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    He has no rights at all.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/15/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    If he did not adopt her then he is not her legal parent. He is functioning in some capacity as an informal guardian. It may be possible for you to obtain legal guardianship over her but I recommend that you speak with an attorney who has experience in these matters to discuss your options and determine the best way to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/15/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    He can't give you something he doesn't have
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/14/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    Notarizing a document does not make it legal. The step father may be deemed to stand in loco parentis. This means that he acted like the father and the court will treat him like the father. However, if he does not want custody of the child, you or he should file a complaint for custody and have the court legally make you the custodial parent.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/14/2011
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    The Husband does not have the rights (or duties) of a legal parent to the 15 year old; nor would a document signed by the Husband confer any legal rights upon you. The court must appoint a Guardian for your sister.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/14/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    There may or may not be any rights to sign over. There are a number of questions about this situation. Was the mother married or single when she adopted? If she was married, what happened to that guy? If mom was single when she adopted, and then married the guy with whom the child is staying, it would seem to me that, unless there was another adoption or other proceedings, that the best that he could be would be a step parent. He may not have any rights to the child to sign away.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/14/2011
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