My wife has 2 daughters from a previous relationship. They were never married. He has a wrap sheet a mile long, which includes drug, assault and domestic violence charges. She reached her breaking point 3 years ago when she filed and was granted a 2 year restraining order.
That order has been up, and now he's back in town, and has been seen hanging around our apartment complex and was even seen by our daughter outside her school watching her. We've filed a new restraining order twice and the judge has denied it due to "lack of merit", despite the fact we have witnesses who have seen him hanging around, and both children have said they want nothing to do with him. I am their step father, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm their father now.
I have intentions on adopting them as my own, but we seem to have to go through miles of red tape. This guy is an A-hole, who is very smart and is just 1 step ahead of the law. We believe him hanging around our apartment and the school uninvited should be grounds for termination of rights, along with the fact he's not been around for 3 years, and doesn't and refuses to pay child support.
What are our legal options?
Get with an experienced family law attorney and file to adopt the daughters. There may be a lot of work, but either they are worth the work or they are not. Your choice.
This answer is not legal advice, and does not create an attorney - client relationship. This answer is for educational purposes only.
Does the father appear on the birth certificate. If so, the parent must show proof that the non-applicant parent has received notification of the Application for Name Change of a Minor. If contested, the court makes name change determinations based on what is in the best interests of the child.
The mother may commence an action to terminate parental rights, which is generally a simpler action if accompanied by a petition for a step parent adoption as well. If parental rights are terminated, the obligation of child support ends prospectively which may be an incentive for the other parent to agree to the action.
You should retain an experienced family law attorney.
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Your wife either has to start a court proceeding to change the name of the children (which won't change the fact that the father is hanging around the school and is still the father of the children) OR you have to start a step-parent adoption proceeding to terminate the biological father's parental rights and replace biodad with you as the children's father. Either option is going to take time. Both options require notifying the biological father. You need to speak with an experienced family law attorney to determine your best course of action.
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