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Can my husband adopt my children who do not have a listed father?

Indianapolis, IN |

The biological father has not been around for over 4 years, and has never even met my youngest child. There have never been any attempts of DNA/visitation on either end, and I have never received any support payments from him. What steps should I take now, and would he have to sign off for adoption/name change, even though he has never made any attempts to be around? I have found this online, but unsure if it is accurate?

The absent parent has abandoned the child for at least six (6) months prior to the filing of an adoption petition. The absent parent has failed to contact or support the child for at least one (1) year when the child has been in the custody of another person. The natural father has failed to establish paternity or has failed to register with the putative father registry. The absent parent has been declared incompetent or mentally defective The absent parent has been convicted of murder, manslaughter, rape, incest, neglect, battery, or causing the suicide, and the victim was the child’s sibling.

Attorney Answers 3


Yes but you need the help of a family law attorney.

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There are certain fact situations that allow for an adoption without the consent of the biological parent. His lack of contact and support for over a year a two of them, but these situations can be fact sensitive, and he would be entitled to challenge the adoption in court if he acts within the right time frames, and if his paternity is pursued. The adoption statute is very specific and must be followed exactly to make this work. From what you indicated, it sounds like so long as you give good notice, he will not cause you problems but you should be prepared for a challenge just in case. If you give good notice and he fails to appear or contest the adoption, and if you give the court the right information, you should be ok. I have dealt with this sort of fact situation before, and had good results, so its not insurmountable, depending on the specific facts. Get a lawyer, just in case.

My intention is to provide general guidance based on the limited information provided in your question. Successful strategies can vary from case to case, even between cases that look similar, based on the specific facts of each case, which can only be developed and understood after a one-on-one consultation between a client and his or her attorney. It is important that you consider the information that I provide as very general, and understand that you should only take legal action after consulting an attorney with the specific facts of your case. While I am happy to help, please do not consider your question and my answer to have formed an attorney-client relationship between us.

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Your husband can always petition the juvenile court for a step parent adoption, and the court will consider several factors including the length of time and relationship between your spouse and your child, the involvement of the biological father in the child's life, and the best interests of your child. I would not recommend you take this course of action without assistance of an attorney. There are several statutory requirements that must be met and forms properly filed.

Responses by Dawn M. Boyd, Attorney At Law, to inquiries on this site are based on the information provided and are for general information only. Any responses and information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor establish the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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