Adopting step child

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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

Answers:

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.


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