My daughters biological father has not been in contact since she was 2 weeks old. My daughter is now 4. I have since gotten married and my husband would like to adopt her. Her biological father never signed the acknowledgement of paternity and his name is not on the birth certificate. I have been unable to contact him to see if he will voluntarily terminate his parental rights.
What steps should I take next? Do I still need to file a petition for involuntary termination of parental rights?
Yes, unless the birth father will consent a petition to involuntarily terminate his rights will have to be filed. One of the grounds for involuntarily terminating a birth parent's rights is that the parents has "refused or failed to perform parental duties for a period of at least six months." no contact or support for six months or more." Notice of the hearing will have to be sent to the birth father. You will need to make reasonable attempts to locate him and document this carefully. If you are unable to locate him publication of the hearing in a local newspaper in the area of his last known address may be an option. This is not legal advice but only a general description of the law. If you would like me to review your case, please feel free to contact me.
C.J. Lyford, Esq.