In May of 2012 I left my daughter's bio dad because he was abusive and detrimental to us both. Our daughter was 2 months old at the time. Now she is 18 months old and her bio dad has not seen her for a year and has never made any kind of effort to contribute to her raising financially or otherwise. My husband has been providing for her and raising her as his own and would like to adopt her. We have never brought up child support or anything else with my ex, and neither has he. I have not made any attempts to arrange visits with my daughter and her bio dad because I don't think he is stable and I feel very unsafe around him. I don't want him in my daughter's life at all. Thank you
You must terminate the parental rights of the biological father before your husband can adopt the child. A petition for adoption by a stepparent is typically joined with a suit to terminate the parental rights of the other biological parent. Frequently, the other parent has consented to have his or her parental rights terminated. However, your ex can certainly fight it. Terminating parental rights is not something courts do lightly and you must have compelling grounds--proven by "clear and convincing" evidence--to terminate parental rights. Your ex's failure to support the child and apparent abuse of you and the child could, depending on the facts and evidence, constitute grounds for terminating his parental rights. If he does not consent to have his rights terminated or you are otherwise unsuccessful in terminating his rights, then you can certainly go after him for child support. To do this, you will need to file a suit affecting the parent child relationship. The court will require your ex to produce copies of his tax returns, pay stubs and any other documents evidencing his income for at least the past two years. He will have to pay 20% of his net resources in child support to you (usually on a monthly basis). If you decide to initiate any legal action against your ex--particularly a suit to terminate his parental rights--you should retain an attorney.