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Grounds/Regulations for a step parent adoption... Help!

Vestal, NY |

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??

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

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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Posted

You would be well-served to discuss your dilemma with a New York domestic relations attorney in a confidential forum as soon as possible.

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Posted

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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2 comments

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

Well, I don't disagree you that asker can make a case for abandonment, and obtain step-parent custody, but with the biological father still paying support and having acknowledged paternity, they're still going to have to go through that whole termination of parental rights process and hope the guy either doesn't show or consents. I don't think we really disagree what the asker wants is possible, it's just that the system doesn't make this termination of parental rights an easy process because it's assumed this father (or child) might change his mind and want a closer relationship some day...there are 12 more years of custody jurisdiction and both father and daughter will probably live a lot longer than that...

David Ivan Bliven

David Ivan Bliven

Posted

But the "termination of parental rights" in the context of an adoption proceeding is a relatively limited hearing on the issue of abandonment. If the Bio F has not had substantial contact with the child for 6 months preceding the petition, then it should be a relatively easy trial to win. But obviously on both our parts, we'd need to know more facts to fully assess the situation.

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