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Can my fiance sign my daughters birth certificate and give her his last name if there is no biological father?

Seabrook, TX |

I am fixing to get married and my fiance is the only man my almost 3yr old daughter has ever known as daddy. After getting married he wants to sign her birth certificate and give her his last name. What do I need to do in order for this to happen. Her biological father has known about her but hasn't tried to contact her or anything since she has been born. Also he was an abuser so I am not upset that he is not around my daughter and am gladly wanting my fiance to adopt her. The biological father was thrown in jail for beating me and i am not sure if that plays any role in my fiance having all fatherly rights to her as he is the one supporting her and caring for her and being a daddy to her! Since there is no father on her birth certificate and she has my last name how do I go about this?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

If your daughter's biological father really isn't interested in her at all, the easy way to handle it would be to ask him to sign a document which would state that he is voluntarily relinquishing his parental rights. At that point, you could file petitions to terminate his parental rights (the relinquishment does not do it automatically, it must be approved by the court), and allow your husband to adopt. I'd wait to do this until you're actually married and have been long enough to show at least a little stability in the marriage. Stepparent adoptions are usually somewhat easier to deal with, but the court does like to feel comfortable that the marriage is likely to last, the parent-child relationship is a strong one, and that they won't be dealing with Father #2 trying to bail out a year from now. And yes, evidence that the biological father abused you will probably be helpful in this, since courts have a statutory mandate to do whatever they can to avoid exposing kids to domestic violence, so as long as you can show that your husband is a much better, safer, more stable parent by comparison, your chances should be good. Good luck.

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4 comments

Asker

Posted

I would like to thank you for the advice and yes I have asked him to sign over his rights but he refuses. He hasn't provided any help what so ever and his parents are trying to cover him by writing money orders saying its his doing. I just need to know exactly what to do to get all this started and done right.

Asker

Posted

I was told that when i get married that my fiance will get legal rights of my daughter and we will just have to change her last name. I was also told that I should take her real father up for child support and wait til she is old enough to decide who she wants to be her dad and since my fiance is military that they can give him rights. some of these things don't make since to me and seem to easy.

M Elizabeth Gunn

M Elizabeth Gunn

Posted

You're welcome, and I'm sorry that you were told all those different things--you're right, most of that doesn't make sense. About the only right I can think of that your fiancé will get once you marry him is the right to legally physically discipline her if you say it's okay. That's it. Other than that, he won't have any kind of parental rights toward her at all, regardless of what's going on with her father, unless and until an adoption has been approved. The military thing is totally irrelevant--the military cannot alter the laws of whatever state you're in. There are some procedural considerations in fanily cases that are specific to servicemembers, but most of that is specific to deployment. I don't think any of that would relate to your situation, and it certainly wouldn't affect her father's rights. If her father won't voluntarily relinquish, you're going to have to file a petition to terminate (which you'd have to do regardless), and deal with a contested hearing on it, which can be a long, drawn-out, expensive ordeal. You don't have to wait until your daughter is any certain age, but it would probably help if she's old enough to be able to have a real conversation with the attorney ad litem who will be assigned to look into what would be best for her. Hearing that your new husband is the only father she's ever known and that termination won't actually result in her losing anything anyway should help. Also, since the military's involved, and servicemembers tend to move a lot, keep in mind that it takes a while to get through all this, I'd say six months at best from when you file, so if you're about to move, that is not the time to start things. The court will have to get a study of your home environment done, the ad litem will have to meet with your child, and things like that that just can't really be accomplished unless you live near the court. I hope this works out for you and your family--good luck.

Asker

Posted

Thank you I was also told that her real father would be responsible for the fees but I'm not sure that's right either. He's national guard so we won't be moving. I can say that my fiance is has provided a lot for her unlike her real father.

Posted

Yes, you want to do a termination and adoption.

I offer free consultations and am quite familiar with family judges in Harris County and nearby counties.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:

Mr. Dick is licensed to practice law in Texas and office located in Harris County. His phone number is 832-207-2007 or 713-510-4500 or his email address is listed below.

Mr. Dick is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Often times the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Dick strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in his or her state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

eric@dicklawfirm.com
www.dicklawfirm.com

I offer free consultations and am quite familiar with family judges in Harris County and nearby counties. LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Mr. Dick is licensed to practice law in Texas and office located in Harris County. His phone number is 832-207-2007 or 713-510-4500 or his email address is listed below. Mr. Dick is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Often times the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Dick strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in his or her state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency. eric@dicklawfirm.com www.dicklawfirm.com

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Posted

The short answer is "No." You should engage the services of an attorney in the county where your daughter lives to accomplish a termination and adoption. Good luck.

Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas. An attorney-client relationship is not formed until the client and attorney have agreed in writing that representation should be accepted and an explanation of the terms of the representation.

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