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What is the easiest way to adopt or get custody without jumping through a bunch of hoops to do it?

Wichita, KS |

My sister is having a baby and I want to have parental rights by the time the baby gets here. What would be the easiest, least expensive way for her to sign her rights over to me? Would it be easier to get custody rather than to adopt?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Each of the previous answers gave very good information, covering multiple issues that you will face. As has been stated, NOTHING can be done in the Court until the child is born. In addition to adoption, there is also the option of Third Party Custody. This does not require a full termination of the parents' rights. It just requires a finding that they are both unfit, unwilling or unable to act as parents.

One other issue that your question raises is about "signing over rights." This language is used a lot, and it is one of the most common questions that we get. A parent cannot "sign over" rights, or give up their rights in any way. Their rights can only be terminated, and in Kansas, that requires the State to terminate, or an adoption. So, there is no shortcut.

This advice is based upon limited and hypothetical circumstances. For an answer that is specific to your situation, please consult an attorney. The answering of this question does not create an attorney/client relationship, and the poster should seek additional information from qualified legal counsel. Many attorneys, like ours, offer no-cost consultations.

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1 comment

Asker

Posted

I'm going to look into the third party custody. If I decide to pursue it, what steps would I need to take?

Posted

The "cleanest" way to get custody and parental rights is to adopt. You will have to wait until the child is born and then it's best to file the petition for adoption ASAP after the birth. It's also important to get the mother and father's consent to the adoption to make it as smooth as possible. This is not a do-it-yourself project so I would recommend getting knowledgeable adoption attorney to help you along. It's not something you want to have screwed up and in 2 years after you've taken the child in, find out it was not a legitimate adoption.

This answer is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If your legal issue exists in North Central Kansas, you may contact Manhattan, KS attorney Blake Robinson to talk about your case.

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Posted

When you are dealing with the adoption of a child, you need professional help to insure that it is done correctly. I would contact an experienced adoption attorney in your area for proper assistance. Generally speaking the mother would need to sign a consent but she can only do this after the birth and then there is the father issue. Is he willing to consest? Is he unknown? Can he be located? Will he contest? Those are some of the questions that need to be addressed - sooner rather than later. I hope that this helps.

This information is provided as a public service to provide a general answer and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

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6 comments

Asker

Posted

How quickly can it be done, and how much money should I intend to spend?

Lawrence John Gibney Jr.

Lawrence John Gibney Jr.

Posted

Typically it may take 4-5 months to have all the paperwork executed; I am allowing a generous amount of time to deal with the father issue. If the father is known and locatable you will need to provide him notice of the intended adoption. if the father is not known, you may need to serve by publication. It would not shock me to have a quote of $2,000- $2,500. Best of luck to you.

Asker

Posted

Is it possible to do an adoption without a lawyer? The baby has no father. Unfortunately my sister went a little crazy after our dad died and ended up pregnant with no idea as to who she slept with. What would I need to do if I wanted to go through with the adoption without an attorney? What paperwork would I need and where do I file it?

Lawrence John Gibney Jr.

Lawrence John Gibney Jr.

Posted

In most states you would still need to serve by publication for the father. This is done by publishing an ad in the local newspaper. I am not sure about the requirements in Kansas but it Florida it must run for four weeks. You would indicate in the ad that this is a "John Doe" situation. I would contact the Clerk where you live for more instructions. Best of luck to you.

Asker

Posted

Would it be the same process if I pursued JUST custody? Thank you for all your help, by the way!

Lawrence John Gibney Jr.

Lawrence John Gibney Jr.

Posted

If you pursued just custody of the child you are probably looking at a guardianship but you would still need to give notice to the father, again by publication.

Posted

I would like to address why you SHOULD have to jump through a lot of hoops to adopt. When considering who should take care of a child, it is appropriate to investigate the prospective adoptive parents.

1. Health - are they in good health? Do they have a contageous disease? Do they have physical problems that would preclude them from being good parents.

2. Finances - can they afford to care for a child? Are they stable or are they getting ready for bankcruptcy?

3. Is the home safe? Are there smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher? If there are pets, are they up to date with their immunizations?

4. If a couple is adopting, are they in unison about wanting to adopt? Is the relationship stable or are they getting ready for divorce court?

5. Motivation - do the prospective adoptive parents love kids or do they want to keep up with their friends who have children? Are they motivated to adopt because it is a humanitarian thing to do? This issues must be explored.

Children cannot speak for themselves --- for these reasons, the law requires prospective adoptive parents to jump through a lot of hoops. I hope by explaining why you have to jump through the hoops, you will be more amiable to do so.

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