I am the god mother of a 5 year old girl. Her biological mother left her with the father (who she was not married too) after she was born. She has not been in her life. Contact has been tried several times for her to give up her right but she can not be located. Her father and I are not in a relationship but he agrees to let me adopt her and become her mother. I have raised her for 5 years. Am I able to adopt her and can her biological mother's right be involuntarily terminated? The father is also not on the birth certificate but has paperwork showing paternity. Can we do joint custody?
It can be done, but it ain't easy, and it ain't cheap. You have a lot of hurdles, but they can be overcome.
Basically, the father is going to file an avowel to claim parental rights. Then he and you are going to file a petition for adoption, have a curator (attorney) court appointed to represent the missing mother, and then have yourself subjected to a DCFS background check and home visit. If after all that, a court finds it is in the best interest of the child, then you are in! Vital Stats will issue a new birth certificate with you as the mother and then it is complete.
Hire a good lawyer in your area to take you through the process. The current status of the minor as being without tutorship makes an adoption like this harder than simple step-parent adoptions.
DISCLAIMER:I try my best to get picked as "THE BEST ANSWER". However, this ain't legal advice, and I ain't your lawyer. This is just idle chat regarding current events. You probably should to go talk to a lawyer face to face.
Yes you can do joint custody. Hire a family law attorney who can terminate the mother's rights.
Yes, the adoption can be completed. It will be a private adoption since you are not going through an agency and are not related to the child. The father can sign an act of surrender which will surrender his parental rights to you. You will have to be approved for adoptive placement which in your situation should not be hard. This will be a process since you do not know where the mother is and can't obtain a surrender from her. However, once you have filed for the adoption, you can request that a curator be appointed. I've seen situations like yours be successful.
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