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What rights do I have to see "my children" once I divorce if my husband takes them away?

Dallas, TX |

I met and married my husband in 2006. At the time, he had two children ages 2 and 3. He claims their biological mother, whom he was not married to, abandoned them when they were 10 and 18 months old. I have wanted to adopt the kids from the beginning and he agreed. Unfortunately, my finances kept me from doing this until January of this year.

The problem is my husband has been having multiple affairs since we have been married and I have recently found evidence that supports this, including catching him in a parked car with a woman and she admitting to it. Of course, he denies everything.

During the initial meeting with the lawyer, he mentioned that if we were to divorce and I had custody of the children, I could sue him for child support. I could see my husband's expression and demeanor change. When we left the office, he said that he would no longer agree to the adoption because he knows that once it's final, I will "put him out and then sue for child support". He also said that he refused to be forced by the government to pay, but would do so on his own. He would even leave the country and return to Kenya to avoid doing so.

I have loved and supported our children since they were very young. As a matter of fact, I was the only mother they knew until 24 hours ago. I sat the children down yesterday and explained to them in a way they could understand what was going on.(My husband has threatened to tell them today and I know that he is not going to in a way that is civil. He has sent for pictures from his sister of their biological mother to show I am not their mom.) He has threatened to take the children out of the state and I would not see them again.

Do I have any legal rights to see my children after I divorce my husband on the grounds of infidelity? He has not been a good father to them. He does not spend time with them nor does he take care of them financially. I pay for rent, food, clothing, medical expenses, school supplies, extra-curricular activities, birthday/Christmas presents and whatever else they need or want. He even refused to give me money to pay for our son's dental work, but has sent his sister money for his nephews school fees in Kenya.

I don't believe he truly loves the kids because he has absolutely nothing to do with them on a daily basis. I have to beg him to take our son with him even if he's just going to the store.

I hope you can help us (myself and the kids) stay together. It is unfair for him to do what he is doing.

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Attorney answers 2


You may have a hard time adopting the children since both parents are still living and neither has terminated their rights to the children. In addition, you would need to serve the mother somehow to have her involved in the process, and with birth mother being in Kenya, that is a problem.

Another interesting facet is that to even apply for conservatorship (not quite being a parent, but many of the same rights and duties) you will need to serve bio mother.

The divorce itself should not involve the children since they are not your biological children, and not "children of the marriage." While his infidelity may play a part in the divorce and division of assets, it does not likely play a part in child-related issues.

Getting someone served in another country is hard, especially if that county is not part of the Hague Convention. I do not know if Kenya is or isn't. You are going to need to flesh this case out with a lawyer and understand what you are trying to do, with regard to the children, is not going to be cheap, but it will be worth it.

Good luck.

This answer is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice nor forming the attorney client relationship. This attorney is licensed in Texas.


I agree with Mr. Harding, and just want to add that it MIGHT be possible to establish some conservatorship rights with the children through a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship. It is a long shot, but if the kids are worth the fight, it might be worth it to explore the possibility. Good luck.

The above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses are merely intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your community. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state