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14 Bumps

Step-parent adoption (HELP!) *Please keep this bumped if you don't know*

What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Hawaii (Oahu)

My ex-husband (daughter's father, we will call him "A") and I were married in June 2008. June 2009 "A" and I welcomed our first and only child, however we had split in April 2009.

"A" was there during the birth, but (18 months later) he has only visited her one time. He does not send cards, emails, nor does he contact me via phone. He has consistently paid child support as required by the military and the CSEA.

I currently have sole legal and physical custody. "A" only has supervised visitation in my home.

"A" and I both moved on after that relationship fairly quickly. Our divorce was finalized April 2010 and by May 2010 we were both re-married. My new husband (we will call him "S") has been there since my daughter was approximately 3 weeks old. He has been the ONLY father she has ever known, and HE is the sole reason she knows the word "dada".

"A" (my ex-husband) contacted me tonight and informed me that he would like to relinquish his parental rights to our daughter. During our divorce this came up, and he'd declined to do it. But realistically speaking, it makes the most sense. He does not have a bond with her, he hasn't tried to have a bond with her, and we're both military families ("A" is Army, and my husband is Navy). We could be stationed opposites sides of the world.

The adoption will be consented. I am currently looking at the Hawaii Court website and there are various forms that can be used in an adoption, varying on the circumstance. I am not sure as to what the first step is that I am supposed to take here.

However, "A" has been very wishy-washy when it comes to our daughter and is consistently changing his mind. So I'd rather get started with this very quickly.

Please, if any of you have ever done a consented step-parent adoption and know what the process is PLEASE get back with me. This is by far the best Christmas present I could ever have, so I cannot wait to hear from you =).

"A" (ex-husband) and I were married when daughter was born. His name is on the birth certificate.

"S" (husband) and I are married. We've been married since May 2010.

"A" and "S", as well as myself, are all currently on island to fill out whatever paperwork is necessary.

Also, are there any special things/papers that we would need to do/sign being military? Thanks!

Please feel free to ask any questions.

"T"What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 1:20 AM on Dec. 10, 2010 in Adoption

Answers (13)
  • I'm in Texas. My sons rights were terminated by the court. My ex DIL surrendered her rights before the court could do it to her. We went to a family law attorney. She went in with us and signed the papers in the attorneys office. We immediately moved to the adoption. The case was very simple after that. We still had to do a home study and all. It was our grandkids we adopted. The most important first step is for him to terminate his parental rights. As soon as he does that child support will stop. It will be as if he never existed, legally. Our courts here make "step-Parents" wait 2 yrs before they can adopt even when rights are terminated. Your best bet is an attorney if you can afford one. I wish I could help more. The fact that he has been there since she was 3 weeks and calls him Dada will help. Good Luck.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 1:29 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • I don't know so I gave you a bump! Good luck in your search!

    Answer by _Tam_ at 1:39 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Oh and I can be so helpful here! My husband is Navy and we just finished out step parent adoption this summer. You cannot do the adoption until you have been married for a year. If you go to your base legal after the year, they will do the entire thing for you, for free! We only paid for the fees which totaled about $500, but the military will reimburse you for this money. Once the year is up, you will fill out some paperwork, take it to Legal, they will prepare a consent form which you'll have to get exhusband to sign. Then you turn a copy of that into legal and they will prepare the rest of your paperwork. It was a very easy process and legal was awesome for us.

    Answer by toriandgrace at 2:18 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Oh and child support does not actually stop until the adoption is finalized.

    Answer by toriandgrace at 2:19 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • @ Toria - I've spoken with an attorney. Unfortunately she's my best friends Mom so she's located in a different state. According to her, child support stops once the rights are relinquished. She can't help me for many reasons, but she is offering a little bit of advice.

    I also don't see anything under Hawaii law which requires parents to be married for one year. My divorce attorney didn't mention this either, and she was really pushing for my ex to relinquish his rights then. That is likely to be a state law requirement, which varies by state-to-state of course.

    Did you have to hire an attorney? Was legal able to really help a lot?


    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 3:16 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • *In some states you may need to be married or with your partner for longer than 1 year.*

    This is, in fact, a state-by-state law. =) I am looking up laws right now. Thanks!

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 3:26 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • I kind of think that the married one year is a military requirement as well as a state law in various states. I'm guessing that the child support issue depends on state too, because I was told that it waits until the adoption is finalized because they require someone to be supporting the child and the relinquisment of rights does not ensure that the adoption will take place, so they want to ensure that if it doesn't go through the father is still paying to support the child. That's how it was explained to me by legal.

    We didn't hire a separate lawyer because the Navy Legal lawyer took care of all of the legal aspects. It's interesting that your divorce attorney was pushing for him to relinquish rights before because I attempted to have this done before I was looking at step parent adoption and I was told by multiple lawyers that you can't have them sign off unless an adoption is in the works. That must vary state to state too

    Answer by toriandgrace at 1:29 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Well I would suggest you make an appointment with the legal office first because they should be able to answer all of your questions, prepare all the forms, and help you through the process. They were great for us and they were free.

    Answer by toriandgrace at 1:31 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Can I suggest that you keep tabs on A so that your daughter can find him if she wants to when she's older. And, don't lie to her about who her birth father is, be honest. Secrets always come out and can be devastating.

    Answer by onethentwins at 1:56 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • I refuse to "keep tabs" on him. I offered to send him pictures or what not regardless of the custody arrangement, maybe once-twice a year and he declined. I NEVER have the intention of hiding her birth right, but at the same point I am not going to keep in contact with him. It's up to him to supply that information, not for me to find it.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 8:20 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

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