General Question

krose1223's avatar

Is it possible to adopt without the natural father giving up all his rights?

Asked by krose1223 (3254points) December 20th, 2008

It may sound silly at first, but here is my problem…
My SO would love nothing more than to be able to adopt my son Xander. My son’s natural father still has some rights to him and I don’t want to take those away. I want the natural father to stay in the picture as much as he wants. He really is not a big part of my sons life right now, and I don’t see that ever changing. There is a good chance I could be traveling a lot with my SO since he is in the military. I am moving to Guam in February to be with him and things just get very tricky when Xander is not legally or biologically his. I really want him to be able to adopt Xander because for one, I know he is going to be the prominent father figure in my sons life either way, and two if he adopts Xander, then Xander would be able to receive all his military health benefits. We have talked about him restationing in Italy I don’t even know how to get insured in a different country!! I know it all sounds confusing, and I can’t find any helpful websites so I was hoping someone could shine some light on my predicament. I think I know the answer already, but I’m hoping I am wrong.

I just don’t know what to do and I want to make the right decision.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

krose1223's avatar

In Texas by the way. I still can’t find anything useful, only “I think’s” or some info on how it works in Canada.

tiggersmom's avatar

The natural father has to sign over the rights as parent, and then you will need a lawyer to help you go to court and get your son adopted. There is no other way around it. Hope this helps, good luck to you.

jrpowell's avatar

You need a lawyer. It sounds like everyone is on good terms with each other. It doesn’t seem like it will be hard to come up with a contract that everyone is happy with. But, you still need a lawyer. If everyone is on the same page this doesn’t have to be painful.

Judi's avatar

I had a friend who was behind on his child support payments. His wife gave him an ultimatum. Catch up, let my new hubby adopt, or go to jail.
He didn’t have the money so his children got a new daddy.

krose1223's avatar

@judi, I could probably do that if I wanted to. I just don’t want to force anything here. My mom did that to my sister’s and brother’s natural dad and they resent her for it. It was a little more complicated than my situation and I don’t want to get into that.
I really don’t think Xander’s natural dad is going to fight it because he already knows that’s what is going to happen. I just don’t want to take Xander away from him or visa versa. I think it’s going to be ok either way, I just didn’t know how to go about doing it. But I’m pretty sure jp is right, I’m going to need a lawyer.

Darwin's avatar

I base the following advice and opinion on the fact that my children are adopted and my husband is military, so we had to go through the whole process with DEERS and Tricare. Before we adopted the kids, when they were placed with us for a 6-month waiting period, we were named their temporary guardians by the adoption agency. Documents showing guardianship and a letter from the CO of our local military hospital convinced DEERS to let the kids into the system.

In terms of actual adoption, basically, the natural father has to give up his parental rights so that your current husband can adopt him. Legally, one is allowed only one father at a time, and the same goes for Tricare (military health benefits). Tricare will require copies of the adoption documents in order to put Xander into DEERS as your husband’s dependent. In some cases you might be able to have the natural father appoint your husband as your son’s guardian. Then those documents plus an understanding CO could get your son into DEERS.

Since your current spouse is in the military you should be entitled to use legal services supplied to military members, which should be sufficient if the natural father goes along with everything. Although a lot of the military lawyers are trained in other states than the one wherein you are planning to have Xander adopted, it is a fairly straight forward process if everyone is in agreement.

Bear in mind, however, that how you approach this is more important than the actual adoption. Just because “legal” ties are cut, it doesn’t mean that your son’s natural father has to be out of your son’s life. He can still play as active a role as he ever has, or more so. Your son will have the option (or depending on how young he is you will have that choice) to change his last name or to keep it the same, or even to combine both last names (be aware that the military doesn’t do hyphens).

It does mean that the natural father cannot be required to pay any money towards your son’s support, although he can give money and gifts of his own free will, much as a godparent would. In some states, even with the termination of parental rights your son would still be considered an “heir of the body” and thus entitled to part of his natural father’s estate at death. However, if your son’s natural father wanted to ensure that then Xander should be listed in his will.

If everyone is on good terms and if it is clear to all that a primary reason for this move is to get medical care as needed for your son, then I don’t really see a problem.

Raggedy_Ann's avatar

I suspect that first you need a lawyer who is an expert in this field. From what I know of the law, and it differs from state to state, usually the biological parent has to sign their rights away. Good luck. You may also want to visit with a military lawyer to find out what your SO’s right are if any.

vegelizabeth's avatar

Yes, it is if the biological father doesn’t appear at the last hearing for the final adoption.
My mother did it.

vegelizabeth's avatar

I’m sure it’s obviously not the other way, but so you know!

Darwin's avatar

@vegelizabeth – what probably happened was the biological father didn’t show, so the court severed his parental rights in absentia. Hence, he lost his parental rights anyway.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Perhaps you could have a guardianship agreement that gives your SO guardianship over your son in the event something happens.

The real determination is, if something were to happen to you, would your son’s biological father be willing and able to assume responsibility for your son?

YARNLADY's avatar

I googled Can a person have two dads and found a lot of interesting entires. One court ruling in the UK says yes. Check it out.

Seaofclouds's avatar

If your SO is your husband, he can cover your son with Tricare as a step-child. Your son’s father would have to agree to the adoption unless he was not in your son’s life at all (abandonment is the only way to do it without consent).

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther