can my partner adopt my son?

Beverley - posted on 09/01/2011 ( 22 moms have responded )

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my son is 13 and has not seen his father for 4yrs (sons choice not to see him), he wants my partner of 8 years to adopt him and change his name. He has aways had contact and holidays with his father until 4 years ago when he did something when he was drunk and terrified my son by saying he would take him away from us if he told anybody!
just not sure if we can adopt or change his name?? I have been with my partner for 8 yrs since my son was 4 and i split with the father when he was only 2

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Colleen - posted on 09/02/2011

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Hi, Beverly! This is what I can offer. Depending on your county and state you live in and where you filed your divorce and child custody issues, that is where you will most likely want to amend the decree concerning your son. I live in Texas, and Texas has a 6 month abandonment law which your ex has so easily accomplished. In Texas, you would be able to file an involuntary termination of rights against the parent based on the 6 months of abandonment. You are actually in a good position, I believe. Your son has voluntarily decided not to see his father because of the incident 4 years ago. The courts will most likely favor your son's desire for adoption for his well being. I worked in family law for several years and have seen many things happen with child custody issues. For the sake of law, you will want to go through the proper channels. An attorney may not always be necessary. In this situation, I would recommend you google your state and county you live in (or where you filed your divorce if you have not amended since the original), add terminating parental rights with the county and state search. You can contact the court to get information, and most likely be able to download paperwork. Since it has been a few years since your son has seen his father, it may not be too difficult. However, keep in mind, if his father has been paying child support, child support payments will cease once a termination of rights is final. His father would still have to pay any back child support but you will not receive future payments. If that's not an issue, then good. Also your son may be old enough to choose the parent to live with as well as filing for an adoption by your current partner. Are you married to your current partner? If not, the adoption may not be able to take place. But again, depends on state, county and how they decide what is appropriate. Here's the bigger picture, although you have been with your partner for many years, if an adoption takes place, your partner will have parental rights. Which means, if you and your partner split, he would have the same rights as a biological father, i.e., visitation, child support, etc. If you have your partner's last name, you may be able to just change your son's last name. As a mom who ponders this issue with my son's father, it is not an easy decision when looking at the bigger picture. If your son is just unhappy having his father's last name, you may want to consider that it's just a name and it doesn't make him like his father, but it just distinguishes who he is and he will make himself the person he wants to be. You may want to further discuss with your partner the bigger picture and if your partner is willing to take on that responsibility if down the line things do not work out. If your partner is more than happy, then go for it and look into terminating rights. If your partner hesitates, then remind your son that he is old enough to make the decision to not see his father (which he has done) and realize he will continue a very happy life with mom and mom's partner. I hope this helps. It's a tough decision to make. All any mom wants is their child to be happy. I would definitely sit down with your partner discuss all avenues and bring your son into it after you and your partner have made a firm decision. Your son may want this change, but as a mom, you need to look down the line and ensure the decision made is the right one. Good luck, Beverly! And wish you all the happiness in the world with your new family!

Melissa - posted on 09/02/2011

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My uncle adopted my two cousins (11 and 13) without getting their biological father involved. They filed the paper work and only had to place an ad in the newspaper in the town where he lived. If the father doesn't respond then they are allowed to be adopted. I don't know if this helps but I thought I would let you know.

Laurie - posted on 09/02/2011

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I went through something similar. You will have to file paperwork with a probate court - best bet is to get yourself a good attorney. Also see if the father would volunteer to terminate his parental rights. Otherwise, you will need a good arguement as to why a court should terminate. Is there any ongoing relationship or was there abandonment? It is not an easy case to win. If a termination of parental rights happens, then an adoption can take place & the name can change. At age 13, your son will have to testify or talk with lawyers and judges and give his own opinion as to why he doesn't want a relationship with his father. Good luck.

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June - posted on 09/07/2011

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Laws are different depending on state. Arkansas says must be no attempt to contact for 2 yrs by the parent. Because of your situation, it's worth the money to talk to a lawyer specializing in family law .

When my daughter asked about adoption, I told her that was between her and my husband. If they BOTH wanted it, they had my blessing. I didn't want her to feel pressured. She was 15yrs. Our lawyer prepped us very well in case the "x" showed up. Well, believe it or not, he showed up and contested the adoption! Because we had a good lawyer, and were well prepared, the judge ruled in our favor. And he told my "x" it was for my daughter's own good! Oh, and the judge did ask my daughter if she was being pressured into the adoption, and why she wanted to be adopted.

Jo-Anne - posted on 09/06/2011

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I was 13 win my step dad adopt me And all they want is my consent to be adopt and to sine my name and my last name was change he needs a father that loves him

Janet - posted on 09/05/2011

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You will need to talk to a solicitor or ring up and talk to someone from the family courts and they will give you direction and information on what you can do.

Kia - posted on 09/04/2011

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Each state has different laws. You need to find a good lawyer from personal experience. If you can't find one that way check your state's bar association for a referral.

Heidi - posted on 09/03/2011

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It is eaisier if his biological father consents to the adoptition. However, every state has different "rules". It is much harder for same sex couples to adopt. Some states will not allow it even if the couple is leagally married!

Good luck to you all!

Pamela - posted on 09/03/2011

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You do not say if you are legally married or not, which may affect the situation depending upon your state laws. Research the state laws of the state that your child was born in. Generally speaking, the biological father has the right to contest any adoption, even if there has been no contact. CHECK YOUR STATE LAWS. You can usually do so on line from your own home. If no computer, go to the library. There is always someone there in a resource position specifically to help with such things.

Monica - posted on 09/03/2011

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if you report what he did the court may terminate his rights automatically leaving your partner able to adpot him

Monica - posted on 09/03/2011

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if you report what he did the court may terminate his rights automatically leaving your partner able to adpot him

Judith - posted on 09/03/2011

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A good lawyer can get this done for you with little problems. My husband WAS paying child support and learned through the "grapevine" that his daughter had been adopted. She was nine years old.

Alexia - posted on 09/02/2011

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Actually yes your partner can adopt your son without getting his father involved. It is called second parent adoption. The guidelines vary by state but each state has this process. You can google what the process is for your state. Good Luck...

Tracy - posted on 09/02/2011

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Another long shot would be for your son to file against him. There was that child that divorced his parents how many years ago and won and at a certain age in divorce they take the child's testimony into consideration. Maybe if your son motions for parental termination...might be worth checking out.

Tracy - posted on 09/02/2011

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According to Child Support Services a parent can not give up his rights unless the child is going to be adopted (this is willingly give rights up). The other way for them to give up rights is if it is proven to be detrimental to the child for the parents rights to stay intact. Since this is what the government looks at as far as letting someone off the hook to pay child support this might be an avenue of argument with lawyers. Get as much data as you can provide counseling and the whole nine yards. Otherwise check into regulations for name changes.

Alexandra - posted on 09/02/2011

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not sure what the correct answer would be, but a local lawyer could answer you in a sec!, if your question is a legal question. If you want an emotional answer, of course you should do what you think is right and take into consideration what your son wants.

JuLeah - posted on 09/02/2011

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Not without your ex giving up his rights as a parent. You can start that process, but that might awaken the desire to be daddy again.

I bet there is a way though .... maybe not fully legal, but in all ways that count. I've been told that is good enough if I ever wished to marry :)

Really though, I bet even changing his name can happen in a legal fashion ... don't give up

Tamara - posted on 09/01/2011

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You would need to get his father to sign away his rights, if he hasn't payed child support or anything you maybe able to have his rights terminated automaticly. your best bet would be to contact a lawyer and see what they say the best route to take is.

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