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Must I file a motion of abandonment to proceed with a stepparent adoption if paternity was never established?

Hollywood, FL |

The alleged biological father of my child has never seen her. He left during the pregnancy and didn't respond at attempts to contact him up until my child was 1 year old. She is now 9 and I recently remarried and my husband would like to adopt her legally. Since paternity was never legally established and he did not sign a birth certificate, do we even need to do the abandonment motion to proceed? If so, what is this I hear about trying to locate him by placing an add in the newspaper?

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Attorney answers 3


Notice by publication is easy and quick. And you should attempt to notify. Courts can require it.

With court approval. you put legal notice in a local paper and that is deemed legal notice to satisfy the statute.

Hire counsel. This can be done and overwith by the fourth of July if you start now.


The step-parent adoption case includes a termination of parental rights that precedes the adoption. You can do it all at one final hearing. Have the biological father served and see if he even answers the petition. If he doesn't, then you can proceed without a separate motion. You should consult an attorney.

And, as a practical matter, you shouldn't refer to the biological father as "alleged" unless there is a reasonable possibility that someone else is actually the father.

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If you know who the father of the child is, even if he has not participated in the child's life, you either have to terminate his parental rights or get his consent. You have to do an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry and describe to the Court your efforts to find him. Examples, check with post office for forwarding address; check with a family member; check at familiar hangouts etc. Then you publish in a newspaper that does nothing but legal publications and it has to run for 30 days. If no one responds then you file your Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry and proof of publication and schedule a final hearing for the adoption. It would go pretty smoothly with an attorney representing you. I would suggest that you find an attorney in your local area. Good Luck.

B. Elaine Jones, Esq.

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