Adopting step child

Wife has sole custody of biological children, as
signed and agreed to by father. Father has
reasonable visitation with children, and pays
support. May I adopt my step children without
gaining biological fathers consent?

Asked on October 30, 2018 under Family Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A child cannot be adopted without a biological parent's permission. One parent sole having custody of a child does not deprive the other parent of their parental rights. Under the circumstances, if you want to adopt these children, you will need their father to legally relinquish such rights. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot. You need not just his consent, but him to give up his parental rights: to somewhat oversimplify, in U.S. law, a child cannot have three parents. You need him to stop legally being their father if you are adopt them, replacing him as the second parent.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.