I have a 6 year old son who has never known his birth father. The only dad he has ever known is my now husband who has been around since he was 6 months. I want to get my husband to do a step parent adoption. The birth father will not agree. He is in prison on serious drug charges for another year, but he still wants to fight for his parental rights. Do I have enough to get his rights terminated??
Based on what you've said, I think you have a very good chance. I was once appointed by the court to represent an incarcerated father who was opposing a petition to terminate his parental rights in a step-parent adoption case - similar to your case. It went to trial because he would not consent to the adoption, and we contested it at trial, but still lost.
I would recommend you go ahead and file (well, technically your husband will file) the petition to terminate the biological father's parental rights. If you are lucky, he will not appear or respond to your petition and you will prevail by default. On the other hand, if it does go to trial, you look to be in a very strong position.
Most likely, yes. Case law holds that prison is no excuse for being absent from a child's life. Without any contact or support for 6 years, bio dad has failed to perform his parental obligations. I have successfully litigated several cases with facts similar to yours.
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Doing the procedure while he's in jail can help. It's hard to respond to legal documents in jail. The birth father would have trouble even getting visitation at this point. I'm assuming your new husband has an honorable record and appears stable. Go for it. The forms are available if you google washington court forms. I highly recommend having a lawyer involved. This is a trickier matter.
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