Birth mother left state without giving a known address etc. When can the step-mother adopt?

Asked over 4 years ago - Las Vegas, NV

If the birth mom leaves the state and does not notify the court and hasn't seen the kids in 6 months but occassionally call their phone (kiddie phone) they are 6 and 8...can the step-mother who does everything in their lives adopt the kids? what kind of process does that look like and does it usually work? Also the birth-mother has been on supervised visitation for 2 years and was just sentenced to 5 years probation in federal court? thank you

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Dillon Gardner Coil

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . In order for the step-mother to adopt the children you will need to file a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights. A Petition to Terminate Parental Rights is a petition to the family court asking the court to take away the rights of a parent by court order. There are a number of reasons to seek a termination of parental rights ranging from protecting the interests of a child to preparing for the adoption of a child, in your case, stepparent adoption.

    It is always important to seek competent legal counsel before filing a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights. Nevada law requires very specific information to be plead in a Petition before the court will even consider it.

    While the Nevada statutes (N.R.S. 128) enumerate at length the possible reasons for termination of parental rights, the court focuses their decision on the best interests of the child as well as the conduct of the parent toward the child.

    These considerations generally include:

    1. The Child's wishes;
    2. Abandonment of the child;
    3. Neglect of the child;
    4. Unfitness of the parent;
    5. Failure of parental adjustment;
    6. Risk of serious physical, mental or emotional injury to the child if he were returned to, or remains in, the home of his parent or parents;
    7. Only token efforts by the parent or parents (a) to support or communicate with the child, (b) to prevent neglect of the child, (c) to avoid being an unfit parent, (d) to eliminate the risk of serious physical, mental or emotional injury to the child, or (g) with respect to termination of the parental rights of one parent, the abandonment by that parent.

    Pleading to satisfy these considerations must be done with care. When considering these factors, the court's final decision will not only rely upon the plain language of Nevada statutes, but also decades of complex and seemingly contradictory decisions from previous Nevada cases.

    The main idea is that you must demonstrate to the court that the birth mother is unfit as a parent, thus giving the court a valid reason to take away her parental rights, paving the way for stepparent adoption.

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