If your partner has developed a close bond with your kids, it is natural to view adoption as a logical next step. Although your newly formed family may be ready for this change, a biological parent may stand in your way if he or she is still in the picture. Stepparent adoption results in the termination of any previous parental rights, so your children’s natural mother or father may have strong objections.
In spite of any disagreement from your former partner, the courts can still grant your current spouse the right to adopt. However, you will need to demonstrate that the biological parent has failed in meeting parental expectations.
Failure to provide
If you are the custodial parent, then your ex should be paying child support. If payments are past due or completely nonexistent, then you should have official documents proving that you never received the money that you and your children were due. This failure to support provides partial grounds to terminate parental rights.
Bear in mind that your ex may attempt to provide evidence that financial hardship prevented him or her from making payments. Depending on the reasons, a court may grant some leniency.
Being a parent is about more than just financial support. Children need emotional connections to their parents. When mother and father split, bonds with the noncustodial parent relies on visitation to stay strong. You can make an argument for abandonment by showing the judge that the biological parent has routinely blown off scheduled visits.
Efforts that the biological parent has made to stay connected with the children, including phone calls, birthday celebrations or attendance at school events may serve as evidence against abandonment. Other factors may still help your case, however.
Ultimately, the judge will take many things into account to make the best decision. Come prepared with ample support to argue that adoption by the stepparent is in the best interests of your kids.