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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102504
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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The father of my son hasn't seen him since April 2010, he was

Customer Question

The father of my son hasn't seen him since April 2010, he was born July 2010, and I'd like my husband to adopt him, but my son's biological father will not willingly sign his rights over, is there anyway it can be done since he's gone 4 years with no contact? He's also $25,000 behind in child support.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:
(A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. This is repeated in numerous disclaimers throughout the site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply while I am typing out my answer.
What state is this in, please?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm from Kansas and so is he, but I moved to Arkansas May 2014 and that's where I currently reside.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If he has no contact with the child, then one can motion to move the custody jurisdiction to AR. See here.
Assuming that this is successful, AR law would apply.
Now, in order for him to be able to adopt, the biological father's rights would HAVE to be terminated. If they are terminated voluntarily, then great, this can be filed back to back with the adoption.
If he does not agree, then per Ann. Code § 9-27-341, one can try to terminate based on the following:
The child has been found to be dependent-neglected and has been out of the custody of the parent for 12
months and, despite a meaningful effort by the department to rehabilitate the parent and correct the conditions
that caused removal, those conditions have not been remedied by the parent.
• The child has lived outside the home of the parent for a period of 12 months, and the parent has willfully failed to
provide significant material support in accordance with the parent’s means or to maintain meaningful contact with
the child.
• The presumptive legal father is not the biological father of the child, and the welfare of the child can best be
served by terminating the parental rights of the presumptive legal father.
• A parent has abandoned the child.
• A parent has executed consent to termination of parental rights or adoption of the child.
• The court has found the child or a sibling dependent-neglected as a result of neglect or abuse that could
endanger the life of the child, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation, any of which was perpetrated by the child’s
parent or stepparent.
• The parent has manifested the incapacity or indifference to remedy the parent’s circumstances that prevent return
of the child to the custody of the parent. The inability or incapacity to remedy or rehabilitate includes, but is not
limited to, mental illness, emotional illness, or mental deficiencies.
• The parent is incarcerated for a period of time that would constitute a substantial period of the child’s life.
• The parent is found by a court of competent jurisdiction, including the juvenile division of circuit court, to have:
» Committed murder or manslaughter of any child or to have aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or
solicited to commit such crime
» Committed a felony battery that results in serious bodily injury to any child or to have aided or abetted,
attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such crime
» Subjected any child to aggravated circumstances
» Had his or her parental rights involuntarily terminated as to a sibling of the child
» Abandoned an infant, as defined by § 9-27-303(2)
‘Aggravated circumstances’ means:
• A child has been abandoned, chronically abused, subjected to extreme or repeated cruelty, sexually abused, or
a determination has been made by a judge that there is little likelihood that services to the family will result in
successful reunification.
• A child has been removed from the custody of the parent or guardian and placed in foster care or in the custody
of another person three or more times in the past 15 months

However, the Court is generally not favorable to termination unless it is the LAST RESORT, so this may not work unless the biological dad is simply a CLEAR AND IMMEDIATE DANGER to the child without hope of getting better. Also, the fact that he is behind on arrears is not an issue here.
As such, a better alternative may be to file for a type of guardianship or formal custody, which would make him a formal legal guardian of the child with all/most rights of a parent. This does not require the biological father's parental rights to necessarily be terminated.
Another option is to negotiate and offer the biological father FORGIVENESS of the arrears if he agrees to terminate parent rights, allowing outright adoption by the step-father.
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