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How can my husband adopt my son without the biological father's consent?

Lawrenceville, GA |

I was married and pregnant at 16. We never lived together. He has been in the Navy since we got married 8 years ago. My son is now 8 years old and has only seen his father a few times for brief visits. For the past two years there has been no contact at all. Now I am getting remarried and he wants to adopt my son. For the first time in this little boys life he could have an opportunity to have a man love him and call him his son. How can he adopt him if my ex does not give up parental rights? He doesnt have anything to do with this child.

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Attorney answers 3


I encourage you to consult with an adoption attorney about accomplishing your adoption goals. It may be possible for your new husband to adopt your son, but how easy that will be to accomplish will depend on the particular facts of your case (for example, financial support, amount of contact, etc.). In addition, you should know that many judges in your area (Gwinnett County) will not grant a stepparent adoption until the stepparent has been married to the biological parent at least one year.

I offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation and would be happy to discuss the specifics of your case with you over the telephone or in person. In addition, you can find a list of other highly qualified adoption attorneys on the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers.

The information contained in this response is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Neither Neal & Wright LLC nor its attorneys have created an attorney-client relationship with you by responding to your question. The attorneys of Neal & Wright LLC ethically cannot agree to represent you until confirming that there are no conflicts of interest and obtaining information about the specific facts of your case.

Sherry Virginia Neal

Sherry Virginia Neal


With respect to Ms. Eyo, there is no requirement to prove a "real relationship" to the stepparent. You will, as she notes, either have to obtain a surrender from your ex or have the court terminate his rights, and an attorney can discuss with you whether you have grounds to terminate rights or will need to obtain a surrender. As Mr. O'Brian Bull notes, this process is not an automatic one. You do not need to wait until you are married to consult with an attorney. While you will not be able to file or finalize the adoption before getting married, there is no bar against planning ahead.


In your ex's relative absence, this may seem like it should be no big deal, but this is far from a slam dunk. Despite his “absence,” your ex has parental rights, and they cannot be “taken” from him without at least giving him a chance to oppose it. In addition to that, it will also depend on the attitude of the judge you get. That judge will have a great deal of discretion and latitude in deciding whether to grant the adoption. Some judges think biological parenthood is almost sacrosanct (even when those parents themselves do not treat it as such); others readily cut off “parents” whose behavior is not ... “parental.”

So you should consult an attorney who has real experience with adoption – it is an area that, increasingly, is technical and hard for lawyers who do not make it a focus of their practice.

You SHOULD be married before attempting it, and it MIGHT be a good idea to wait 6 months or a year after the marriage before doing it. (I have several reasons for saying this, and since many of them vary according to what I said above, it would just be needlessly confusing if I tried to elaborate on them here.)

God bless!


As was mentioned, you need to be married first. (Step-parent adoption requires that there be a step-parent.) If you do not have consent of the biological parent for the adoption, you can request that the parent's rights be terminated anyway based on their failure to provide financial and/or emotional support. However, you need to also be prepared to show some sort of real relationship between the child and the step-parent.

As was suggested, you should meet with a few attorneys. Not only do you need to get specific information about your rights and responsibilities, you also do NOT want to try to proceed without the assistance of counsel. (Note: you should get married BEFORE you start interviewing attorneys.)

The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.