Husband vs Birth Father

Updated on August 19, 2010
T.W. asks from Miami, FL
11 answers

I have an 8 yr old son. I was a single parent for most of his life until i married my husband july '09. 4 the first 6 yrs, his biological father has been in and out of his life. And when he was there in his life, he was not a full time father. he has never continuously helped financially and still owes approx. $23k in court ordered child support. I have began to receive payments towards his debt about 3 months ago bc he now lives in PA and they have done more to enforce child support than FL has.

My issue that my husband would like to adopt my son. he has done more since we have been together than his biological father has done in his whole life. I have asked the father to sign over his rights prior to me getting married and was told no. I recently offered the option of him getting off child support by having my husband adopt but still allowing relationship and was told no as well. The biological father is listed on birth certificate. The bio father and i do not get along and do not speak. i got my son a cellphone so that he and his dad could speak without having to include me. he has ALWAYS tried to turn my son against me and attempt to brainwash him by promising my son things that he would give him if my son was to live with him(which happen to be things that I object to because of being hazardous to my son i.e riding him on a motorcycle.) i have a couple questions......

Do the bio father have to sign off in order for my husband to adopt?
If my husband adopts, do I have to change my sons last name from his bio father to his now adoptive father?
If my husband adopts, do the bio father have rights to my son if I was to die?
if my husband adopts, will that remove the bio father from being financially re


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So What Happened?

@Toni, my son knows who his father is. And honestly i do want his father in his life because I understand the importance. I do not care about the child support as that is not importance bc I have been taking care of my son alone. My sons father has 5 children at 27 yrs old and I believe this may b a better situation for both of us. I want my son to keep his fathers last name because my husband and I are still very close to the biological fathers family. So I do not want my son to lose where he came from. Even if my husband adopts, I am still willing to allow his bio father to have a relationship with my son outside of court bc my son is aware of who his father is and wouldnt want to mentally traumatize my child..causing his to resent me or his father.

**Ok, i dont knoe why it shows VA. I live in FL and the court order is also here. The bio father now lives in PA. I have asked my son. We have a great relationship and he doesnt clearly understands adoption. He calls my husband daddy and has always done so since the beginnin. My sons bio father isvery degrading to myself and also his other baby's mothers. he had a demosstic violence and child abuse case opened with 1of his baby's mothers. He has a violent temper and always wants things his way and if not, he blows his top. His problem is that he is infatuated with me and only wants to hold on to my son so that he keeps me sumwhere in his life. He is married but instead of using my # on christmas...he uses it to call on valentines day. My situatuion is so complicated. Though we have a child support order and I have always had physical custody of my son from day 1, neither of us have a court ordered custody order. he has threatened before to take my son so I am fearful to give him visitation in another state. I do no believe he will give me my son back. This is really a messed up situation. I am hurtin so bad. It would really hurt my familiy and husband because if somethin happened to me, he would take my son and allow no relationship with my side of the fam....

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answers from Mayaguez on

I believe the bioparent has to give up his rights to a child before an adoption is possible, And yes, it would remove any financial responsibility over the child. But you need to get these and any other doubts answered by a professional; a social worker at DCF, a lawyer, or both. Good luck

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answers from Portland on

In order for your husband to adopt, his biological father has to sign an agreement to terminate his parental rights. Once he does that he no longer has any claim to your son. If he won't voluntarily sign away his rights, you can go to court and ask that his rights be terminated. However, to do that you have to prove that it's in the best interests of the child to do so. If he hasn't had contact with his son for a lengthy period of time this may be possible. You'll need an attorney to do this because it's a complicated process.

Later: T., I just read your "what happened." I'm very glad that you are willing to work to have the best of both worlds for your son. He is so lucky to have such an understanding Mom and step-dad. I hope that his bio father will agree without having to wrangle over it.

His biological father may be willing to relinquish his parental rights in exchange for not having to pay child support.

You do not have to change your son's last name but you can if you want to.

Your son's biological father will have no rights if you die. When your husband adopts your son he is his legal father. For legal purposes it will be like the biological father doesn't exist.

Yes, it will mean that his biological father is no longer financially responsible. He will not have to pay back child support or continue to pay in the future. By signing away his parental rights he will not have any rights or responsibilities.

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answers from Austin on

Have you asked your son? 8 years old is old enough to have real feeling about this.

It should be done by a professional therapist, so that your son will feel safe saying what he really feels.

I am a child of divorce and there was nothing worse than parents trying to make these decisions or choices, but not including us. The other thing was we were pleasers and did not want to hurt either parent. Even if we did not see one parent for long periods of time, or were not close to them, they were still our parent and we felt a bond that could not be broken. We would not want to hurt or feel we had hurt someones feelings. Or picking one over the other, even though we never could feel that way.

Please put your sons true feeling at the top of the list. EVEN IF he has told you he wants your husband to be his dad.. He needs to speak with a professional ! He needs his own advocate that does not have anything to do with the past relationships of all of you.

I am sending you clarity and patience.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm not sure about Virgina law, but in Texas, Bio dad has to sign away his parental rights or they can be taken if he doesn't meet certain criteria. I think if he doesn't attempt to visit for a certain period of time you can request rights be revoked. You can do that through the attorney general if you have a case with them for free. If not, you can pay an attorney. Adoption procedures vary greatly from state to state, but atty general can give you some insight into what paperwork is needed for that, as well. If bio dads rights are relinquished or revoked than he would have no rights or duites. He no longer has to pay. He can't get custody if you pass away But if you pass and your son is not adopted by your your husband, it can be tricky for him to get custody sometimes.

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answers from San Francisco on


One step at a time and most importantly, (Verify with your local judicial authorities), However in most instances:

Inform the biological father that your husband would like to formally adopt the child and relieve him of all financial and parental obligations, IF, he is willing to give up ALL rights, including visitation and contact.

IF he is willing are YOU willing to forgo the 23K in back support?

IF the biological father, your husband and you are ALL in agreement and if (God forbid you should die before your child becomes of age), then your present husband would become the custodial parent with all rights as a natural parent.

I would keep in mind that most children become curious about his/her biological parent no matter what, so everyone should be prepared to be as honest with the child as possible on the occasion that you feel he/she is prepared to understand what happened and why.


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answers from Hickory on

My son just turned 10 and has had a strong feeling about all this for some years now. His Bio dad was never there, stopped seeing them, and stopped paying what little I asked for. In June of this year I finally went to court. Look into the rules for your state. You need to get a lawyer. They could answer all your questions and help you with everything. I hold all the rights to my children now. My husband has stated that he would like to adopt them but they will wait for now. Where I live once the bio dad's rights are taken than they do not pay any more support to you for the child. Changing his last name is up to you all, it does not have to be done. When you ask my two they want to change their names. If you are just doing an adoption the dad will have to sign that it is ok, you go to court and get his rights and then you sign for the adoption than he is not needed. If the step dad adopts your son than in the case of your passing he keeps the child not the bio dad. Adoption is removing the child from the parent to where they have no rights to the child. I wish you all the best.

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answers from Daytona Beach on

well, here's to answer the ?. even if he's on the birth certificate, if you were never married, he has no rights to custody of your son.

the bio father would have to sign off since he is listed on the birth certificate.

you would not have to change your child's last name to the adoptive fathers that would be his choice.

if you die, and husband is adoptive father, than no the bio father has no rights.

if husband adopts the bio fathers child support is completely stripped. he is no longer anything to your son, so he has no responsibilities.

if this is something that the 3 of you really want, and the bio father is nowhere around and doesn't want visitation, etc. you could try to open an adoption case with an attorney...however, once the court is involved, visitation, etc might come up. so think carefully.

and to respond to Jennifer S. terminating parental rights used to not mean that support was terminated also. it had to be specifically noted in the termination papers or support would be ongoing for the child. however, in 03 or 04 (i worked in family law and dealt with this) the orders changed and now when parental rights are terminated child support is also terminated. that doesn't mean that the state doesn't want there money back if you have been getting gov't help.


answers from Dover on

You should really check the rules in your state (or whereever your court order is through). Here are the answers in my area:

Yes, he would have to sign off. No, you shouldn't need to change his last name but could. Once adopted, your husband would be his father thus leaving no rights or responsibilities to the bio father to your son.

Outside of the "if something happens to you" I am not sure what difference it maks if you were still planning to allow the relationship and aren't looking to change his name.



answers from Cincinnati on

I agree with asking your son. my husband was adopted by his stepdad when he was 3 or 4 yrs old and didnt have a say and he hates his stepfather (he was very verbally abusive towards him...not right away but once he got older...around 10) and it hurt his relationship with his mother (to the fact that I only met her once) so if you can give your son a choice it might make a big difference latter (side note your husband has to sign away any parental rights if you want to get your son adopted by another man)



answers from Pittsburgh on

Your husband would have to sign away his parental rights in order to adopt. Do you really want that? You don't get along. You don't care for how he speaks of you to your son. I understand. But it IS his father.
I can speak to this, my stepfather never "adopted" me but he was the best dad in the world. My own father was very much less than Mr. Perfect Dad.
Who cares if he adopts him? He can be a constant, steady guiding influence in your son's life and, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what his "title" matters what difference he made.
Mistakes are can't always tie up all of the loose ends into O., neat presentable package. That's OK.



answers from Washington DC on

The first step I would take if I were you is to see an adoption attorney. If your husband adopts your son, you can change his name to anything you want or leave it alone. Your call. If your husband adopts, key word is adopts, your son, the biological father will not have any legal ties to your son. A new birth certificate will be issued for your son with his step father as his biological father. Rendering the original birth certificate null and void. In the event of your death, after the adoption, your son's biological father will not have right to him. As far as financial responsibility, it depends. Were you awarded AFDC which would put the state in the middle of paying you child support? The state will want their money back from him so that it a question you need to take up with an attorney.

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