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I am considering adopting my 8 yo step dd. Her father has had sole custody of her since she was an infant. I have been with her full time since she was not quite 4 yo. I have been married to her father for over 3 years now. Her biological mother has had little contact with her since I have known them, and has had no contact at all in the last, at least, 14 months.
I am wondering what costs and processes were, or would be involved. And any other helpful information would be appreciated too! Thanks in advance.
We are in the process right now. XH gave up his parental rights (or is in the process of it). It cost him $150 to file the paperwork. You can file this though, doesn't have to be the absent parent. As long as you have her info: last known address and all that, you should be good. Once you file and pay your fee (it might be different where you are) they will serve the absent parent any paperwork, and they must respond within a certian amount of time as to whether they agree or not, if they do not respond, well, this is case by case, but it isn't dropped. You will have to go through an investigation (DCF is coming over today for that) to see if you are "fit and able" to care for this child you have already been caring for.....after those steps...I am not sure, but I will keep you posted. Good luck!
I just wanted to suggest www.laborlawtalk.com they have a GREAT legal forum for posting questions about adoption/custody/paternity. You will get some great legal advice.
From what I have herd step parent adoption is possible when the couple has been married for more then 1 year (which you have)
The Bio parent has been contacted and agree'd to volintarlily TPR.
The Bio parent has meet the requirement for "legal abandonment", extreme parential disintrest, abuse, or neglect. Legal abandonment or extreme parential disintrest would require that the parent hasn't had physical/phone contact with the child OR paid child support for a certian amount of time (varies state to state) usually 12 months in a row. If the parent hasn't had contact (child support payments count as "contact) for the set amount of time in your state you can petition the courts to TPR while pursuing the step-parent adoption.
If the Bio parent pays child support & refuses to give up their rights to allow a step-parent adoption...from what I understand there is very little that can be done to push for the adoption. The courts rarley sever the rights of a bio parent who has contact(child support or physical/phone) and WANTS to keep their rights intact.