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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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i have been raising my step daughter for 10 years. I have

Customer Question

i have been raising my step daughter for 10 years. I have been married to her mother for five year. the legal dad has not paid child support for 12 years and has been absent from my daughters life 95% of her life. She is now 14 and wants me to adopt her. I have filed in the state of utah and had asked her bio father permission. He declined, being that he lives in another state what should be my next step?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

How much in the past 12 months has the father seen his biological child, if at all?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
last summer she visited, because she wanted to "hang out with her step sister"
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Last summer, as in in 2010, or in 2009?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
my apologies 2010.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Not a problem, thank you for your follow-up.

The reason I asked about the date is if it was for more than 12 months, even if the parent would decline or deny the right to adopt, you could still pursue an involuntary adoption anyway, and will probably prevail. In your situation I would suggest that you discuss this with your wife and see if she would be willing to file an appeal on your behalf and have the judge essentially review and hopefully overturn the other parent's denial on grounds of abandonment, unfitnesses, and lack of support. The reason this must come from your wife is because she as the other parent must be the actual petitioner in this case.

I cannot predict for you how the judge will rule. Some will over-rule simply if you can show that the other parent is almost completely absent from her life. Others will uphold his rights. Additionally the other parent will be able to attend the hearing and communicate to the judge his thoughts and reasons behind your petition.

Good luck.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 12/1/2010 at 5:14 AM EST
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

One other tid bit. If you dont mind. My wife and him had spoke on the phone, and he said it would be fine if I adopted, if we made a paper stateing that my daughter would still be able to see him after I adopted we put a paper together and then he changed his mind. He has not been served with any papers and now I need to go to court to keep the case open with the judge. Basically he is dragging his feet and stringing us along. Does this information have any other bearing in you answer?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up. And no, of course I do not mind--I am here to assist.

Actually no it does not--it still requires that you pursue the adoption petition and push it forward. Remember that he will be notified by the courts of the hearing, and he is then free to attend or send an attorney to disrupt or stop the proceedings against you.

Good luck.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 12/1/2010 at 5:31 AM EST