My daughter is now 6, her bio-logical father, we were never married, has not seen her or even attempted to make contact since she was 7 months old. He never even showed up for the sole custody hearing. he knows we have lived in our home now for 2 years which is only 9 miles from where he lives with his parents. I have been married to my husband now for 4 years and he has been in my daughters life since she was a baby. The only support received is court ordered, coming directly from his paycheck at $22/week, it wouldn't come if it was not taken directly out, its been 2 months w/o any payments. She wants to know why her last name is different than her sisters and ours, very saddening. She only knows my husband as her Dad, as he has been there. Do we have grounds for the adoption??
It will be difficult for the step-parent to adopt the child without the consent of the biological father or if the father appears in the proceeding and contests the adoption. You can petition in Family Court or Surrogates Court and the biological father will have to be given notice. If the child is adopted this will terminate the biological parents parental rights such as visitation and the obligation to pay support and he can take the step-father's last name. What you're seeking to do is possible, but tricky, depending on how the biological father reacts and his desires. Retaining a Family Court lawyer familiar with adoption procedures would be very helpful here.
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Contracts / Agreements Lawyer
You would be well-served to discuss your dilemma with a New York domestic relations attorney in a confidential forum as soon as possible.
I respectfully disagree with the other poster - on the facts you've presented, it appears you clearly make a cause of action for abandonment, which is the most common ground for a step-parent adoption. Thus, I encourage to you follow-up with a Family Law attorney in your area, particularly one with experience in adoption cases.
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