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Michele A. Zavos
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Michele Zavos’s Answers

19 total


  • Can I change my mind and have my baby back after giving up my parental rights?

    Concerning an open adoption: Can I change my mind after giving up my parental rights?

    Michele’s Answer

    If a legal adoption of your child was finalized, you can't change your mind. There are certain circumstances, under specific state laws, where an adoption can be reversed for fraud, duress, or mistake. If something like that happened, most states require that issue to be raised within one year after the adoption is finalized. But, if the adoption has taken place, and you have had a change of heart, the adoption will not be reversed. However, you should consult a Texas lawyer to be sure this is the law in Texas. You can find an experienced adoption lawyer through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.

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  • Terminating Biological Father's Rights (Oklahoma)

    My daughter's father has had no contact with her for 3 years. There has been no child support paid either. He was just convicted of 2 felonies and sentenced to 9 years. My current husband would like to adopt my daughter. Where do I start? Wha...

    Michele’s Answer

    The laws of Oklahoma will control your husband's petition for adoption. You disclose that your daughter's birth father has had not contact with her for three years and has not supported her financially. If he did so voluntarily (he wasn't in jail), then he has essentially given up his parental relationship with her. If your husband has acted as the child's father, supporting her both emotionally and financially, he should be able to adopt her, even over her birth father's objection. Generally, a court will waive the consent of a birth parent who either has not developed or ended a relationship with a child. This acts like a termination. However, you need to talk to an adoption lawyer in Oklahoma. Go to the website for the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys to find an experienced attorney to work with.

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  • Michigan state adoption, child support and child custody laws

    My fiance signed over his rights to his daughter almost 7 years ago. Her mother then abondonded her. She has since been adopted by her maternal grandparents. They reside in the state of Texas. If my fiance contacts his daughter on behalf of hi...

    Michele’s Answer

    If his daughter was legally adopted by the child's maternal grandparents, your fiancee has no rights or responsibilities to the child. He cannot be sued for child support, just as he cannot sue for visitation. The child is a legal stranger to him.

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  • Single parent custody

    I was never married to my daughters father. He signed a paper in the hospital when she was born but I am not sure what it was. She is 16 now and has lived with me her entire life. Her father has been given every opportunity for visitation through ...

    Michele’s Answer

    You are asking about a step-parent adoption for your daughter. The laws of Kansas would apply to your husband's Petition for Adoption. Most likely, under Kansas law, given your daughter's age, she will have to formally consent to the adoption. It's also possible that your daughter's birth father will voluntarily consent to your husband's step-parent adoption. If he doesn't voluntarily consent. your husband should be able to go into court and obtain the step-parent adoption. Your daughter's birth father has had no contact with her for two years, and I assume has given no financial support during that time. Basically, he has abandoned your daughter as his child. Your husband has been her father for 15 years, and I assume he has supported her financially. You shouldn't have any problem obtaining this adoption, but you should consult with a Kansas adoption lawyer. You can find an experienced adoption lawyer through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.

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  • Can the biological father prevent mother from adopting out the child under UT family laws

    My ex girl friend is pregnant and wants to adopt the child out. I want to know my rights to keeping the child

    Michele’s Answer

    Birth parents have the same rights and responsibilities to their child. If you want custody of this child, and don't want the child adopted, you can refuse to consent to the adoption. However, you can't make your ex keep the child. Your choice appears to be that you either take custody of the child or consent to the adoption. If you tell your ex you want custody of the child, be prepared for her to say that in that event she wants to keep the child. Then you have a custody dispute and a court will decide which parent should have custody. The noncustodial parent will be responsible for paying child support according to your state's child support guidelines.

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  • Mom wants what is best for daughter

    My ex boyfriend and I were never married and we have an almost 4 year old who doesn't even know who he is. He does not pay child support, does not see her or even try to contact her. She thinks that my husband is her dad. I have asked him to sig...

    Michele’s Answer

    You are asking about a step-parent adoption where the birth father will not consent. A court will twaive the birth father's consent to in an adoption, which essentially terminate his parental rights ,when he has not grasped his "opportunity interest" to become a parent. That means he has not developed a relationship with his child and has not supported the child. Even if the birth father does not consent, generally a court will waive his consent to the step-parent adoption in these circumstances and allow it to go forward, especially if your husband has acted as your daughter's father, both emotionally and financially. The birth father may put up a fight, but from the facts you have disclosed, he almost certainly will lose. However, you should talk to a Minnesota lawyer since adoption law is determined on a state by state basis. Find an adoption lawyer through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys' website.

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  • Step-parent adoption with bio not in picture for seven years

    My son has never meethis father ( not by my choice at all). He is now seven and I am married and he wants to have the same last name as his step-father. I gave his bio visitation anytime he wanted. He refused and doesn't want anything to do with ...

    Michele’s Answer

    Yes, you can proceed with the step-parent adoption by your husband. Your son's birth father does not appear to have grasped his "opportunity interest" to create and maintain a relationship with your son. Michigan law would control the decision in your case as you live in Michigan. However, if a birth parent has not supported a child, and has not obtained and maintained a relationship with a child, generally a court will terminate that birth parent's rights and grant a step-parent adoption. You didn't say how long your husband has been a father to your son, but if he has supported your son financially and emotionally for a period of time, your step-parent adoption petition should be successful. You should get advice from an adoption lawyer in Michigan. Go to the website for the American Academy of Adoption attorneys to find someone with the right experience to represent your family.

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  • Terminating rights to allow adoption

    my husband and i live in north carolina, my ex-husband lives in florida( not 100% sure where the only address i have is on court papers i received after he was arrested for non payment of child support). my ten year old son would like my husband ...

    Michele’s Answer

    Your adoption would proceed under North Carolina law since your are North Carolina residents and your son lives with you. Several things are in play here. One, your son may have to formally consent to the adoption if North Carolina law requires it. Generally, when a legal parent does not support a child, does not maintain a relationship with a child, and essentially "abandons" his relationship with the child, a court will terminate that parent's parental rights in a step-parent adoption. Your case sounds like a classic step-parent situation. Since your husband has really been your son's father for five years, you have an excellent chance of obtaining a step-parent adoption for your son. However, you should confer with a North Carolina adoption attorney to discuss the specifics of North Carolina law. You can find a good adoption attorney through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.

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  • How long is the waiting period for permanent adoption?

    I have a friend who has legal custody of a 5 mo. old with intentions to adopt her. Does she still have to have a home study done through DHR,or will she just be able to file for permenent adoption after the waiting period, and how long is the wait...

    Michele’s Answer

    The correct answer to this question depends on where your friend lives. Adoption law is a state by state creation. Generally, prospective adoptiove parents must have a prospective adoptee live with them for at least 6 months before a Court can grant an adoption. Again, generally, adoptive parents must have a home study completed before the adoption can be granted. That assumes the social worker completing the home study recommends the adoption. However, your friend's state may have different laws. Your friend should contact a lawyer who is a Fellow with the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (go to the website) to be sure y9ur friend gets correct information.

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