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Legal Adoption of a "Fatherless Child" After Marriage

Satellite Beach, FL |

My fiance and I will be married in November. My fiance is in the US Army and wants to legally adopt, or at least make my son a legal dependent, and give him his last name, so he can be his father AND so my son can have the benefits that we do. My son's biological father has never been in the picture- has never asked for nor agreed to a paternity test, has never been called into any legal situation regarding my son, is not on the birth certificate, and basically fails to acknowledge that he even has a child. So therefore, has never had, nor wanted, any legal rights. What process would we have to go through to make my fiance my son's legal father? Do I just need to put his name on the birth certificate and request a change of name.....or?

What if the "father" had no idea that the mother was pregnant, the mother and father were never married, the father did nothing pre-birth/post birth, is not on and has never been on the birth certificate, etc...I mean, this guy LITERALLY was NEVER around, aside from son has NO ONE's name but mine on his BC. Does this affect things??

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Attorney answers 2


You are considering what is called "step-parent adoption." There are many issues beyond your basic question, and both you and your fiance should seek legal counsel regarding the ramifications before you make a final decision. Your son may be qualified to benefits once you are married, evenwithout the adoption.

As to your basic question, a step parent adoption will require that your son's birth father's parental rights must be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily. You will need a lawyer. It is not a matter of changing aa name on the birth certificate, as that takes a court order.

If you cannot find a lawyer to assist you, I may be able to assist with a referral.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of the Mallory Law Group, pursuant to an executed employment agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without seeking legal advice. Earl K. Mallory (561)743-3708.


You should contact an attorney to handle this matter as at first blush you have very good facts to support an adoption. A name chage wil not accomplish the objectives you set out here. In Florida, if able and aware of the pregnancy or the birth of the child, a birth father that desires to establish and/or protect his rights is expected to pay a fair and reasonable amount of the expenses incurred in connection with the mother's pregnancy and the child's birth, in accordance with his financial ability, when not prevented from doing so by the birth mother. We attempt to locate and contact birth fathers to see if they will voluntarily cooperate with the adoption and sign a consent or affidavit of nonpaternity. For unmarried biological fathers who are located and will not cooperate, the Florida Supreme Court has mandated that we serve them with a notice of the birth mother's intended adoption plan. The notice gives the potential father a period of 30 days within which to indicate his intent to contest the adoption by taking certain specified actions which include that he: 1) register with the Putative Father Registry and 2) file an affidavit with the court committing to certain obligations with respect to the child. If the unmarried biological father fails to timely complete the required actions, we seek a court determination that he has no rights to the child. If the unmarried biological father timely completes the required actions, he preserves his right to notice and his consent to the adoption is required as if he had been married to the birth mother or otherwise established to be the child's legal father. In such cases, his failure to provide financial support to the birth mother during her pregnancy remains a basis for the court to waive his consent and the judge will determine if he provided the pre-birth support necessary to prevent adoption.

Jeanne T. Tate P.A.
418 West Platt Street
Tampa, Florida 33606
(813) 258-3355 ext 101
(813) 258-3373 Facsimile

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