New husband adopting daughter?

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 3
Member
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@Ninteenthchance:  So long as her bio dad is still her legal father, he could take her away from your FI should something happen to you.  Even with proper legal documents in place, the court tends to lean towards placing a child with family and should you die, your FI wouldn’t be considered your daughter’s legal family in a vast majority of states.  The court process to adopt can be difficult because you have to notify the bio dad and either get his permission or get the court to order it over his objections.  But it would ensure that your FI is her legal father and bio dad cannot ever come and take her away from your FI should something happen to you.

Post # 4
Member
1590 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Is there a reason you think that bio dad would fight for custody if you put FH in your will? Do you need the 1,000 a month or is it just nice to have? Can you and FH support her on your own?

Post # 5
Member
4494 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Have you talked to a legal professional to find out what your options are?  I would do that first to find out what sort of rights your FH and your ex would have in such circumstances.  my inclination is to go through with the adoption so your SO has more rights than the sperm donor (because let’s face it, your SO’s then only father she knows).  I wouldn’t do anything, though, until finding out exactly what my options were.

Post # 6
Member
502 posts
Busy bee

Do you need the child support to support your child?

Post # 7
Member
1969 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

If its really important to you that your FH keeps your daughter in the event of your untimely demise, then you should go through with the adoption, and prepare yourself to make do without the $1000.00 a month.  

Post # 8
Member
1243 posts
Bumble bee

@Ninteenthchance:  I would speak to a lawyer.  Where I am, it would be highly unlikely for a court to remove a child from a de facto parent in favour of a biological parent who has had no parental role, as this would not be in the child’s best interest.  The chance of your FI losing custody in the event you were to die may be smaller than you think, but it very much depends on the laws where you live.

Post # 9
Member
224 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@Ninteenthchance:  You didn’t mention how old your daughter is. I have thought about this as well – my fiance and I have been together 6 years and he has been more of a father than her bio ever was (I don’t even know the last time he’s seen her) I get child support sporadically – it’s nothing I couldn’t live without for sure though. Ultimately I’ve decided against it…she’s in high school now and doesn’t have any desire to change her last name (which is my current last – and maiden- name). She’s also 14 though – and will be 15 by the time we are married. I don’t believe her bio would come after her for custody or anything, but even if he tried, I’m sure he wouldn’t have a chance given the situation, between my own mother (who my daughter and I lived with throughout much of her childhood) and my fiance, and his family. She has an abundance of support and she is at an age where she can verbalize her wants and there is enough evidence to show that it would be detrimental to her to remove her from her environment. 

That being said – if she were much younger I would strongly consider it for a multitude of reasons. I’d be sad to see the money go, but if you have legitimate concerns about that happening, I’d say that is more important.

Post # 10
Member
538 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Ninteenthchance:  I would contact a lawyer. I don’t know about you gals but 1000 is not chump change and I assume you are using it to take care of your daughter and family. I I had to cut 1000 out of my budget I would be screwed. Please talk to a lawyer before you make any major decisions. 

Post # 11
Member
855 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

@Ninteenthchance:  You cannot will your child. She’s not a piece of property, which is what wills are for. Her father has rights and as her father, if you die he’s going to be able to decide to take her or what happens to her.

As a parent myself, I will say though that it sucks that you’re willing not to have the man who you say has raised her all this time BECOME her father because you don’t want to miss out on money. Some things are supposed to be more important than money. On the bright side, unless dad agrees to the adoption since he’s still providing financial support, you’ll have a hard time having his rights involuntarily terminated.

Post # 12
Member
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

@DJones69:  Uh, you can will your child. I went to a lawyer with my DH and we made a will specifying who we want to raise our minor children in the event of our deaths. People do this all the time. Can you be 100% sure the court will designate the guardian you picked, no. But generally these dictates are followed if the guardian is willing to accept the responsibility and deemed capable of doing so by a judge. If they aren’t, well, that’s why you name a back-up guardian.

@Ninteenthchance:  I would be shocked and dismayed if, in the event of your death, the court decided to rip your daughter from the only father she has ever known and stick her with her bio dad who it sounds like has shown almost no interest in her and doesn’t know her. Shocked. But on the other hand, she IS very young, so maybe they’d figure, ‘hey, she’ll get used to sperm donor dad.’ As PP have said, best to look into it with an attorney, because it all depends on the laws of your state.

If it seems likely that a court would actually do that, then yes, I would seek to get your ex to agree to having his parental rights terminated so your DH could adopt your daughter. Unless your ex hates you and wants to make you unhappy to the tune of $12k a year, or if he wants to become more involved in your daughter’s life in the future, I bet he accepts your offer.

If on the other hand you can be fairly certain that a court in your state would bestow guardianship upon your DH, I would make a will saying DH gets her if you die, and not worry about it.

The good parts are that 1) with each passing year I bet it would become more unlikely that a family court would stick her with your ex, and 2) it’s very unlikely you’re going to die suddenly at your age.

ETA: Please let us know what you decide and how it works out, and what your ex says if you consult him?

Post # 14
Member
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

@Ninteenthchance:  If your ex has remarried and has what would sound to a judge like a stable home, and the issue with him not visiting your daughter could be said to be tied up with the great distance between you… yeah, that amps up the scary what-if here.

But it sounds like your ex is not at all likely to cooperate with this plan. So there probably isn’t anything you can do here besides make a will specifying your DH to be her guardian in the event of your death and hope for the best. I doubt your refusing to accept his child support payments would make a court significantly more likely to allow your DH to assume custody if you died and your ex sought it.

So I’d keep depositing the checks, and … you really are unlikely to die? I imagine that is cold comfort though. 🙁

Post # 15
Member
224 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@Ninteenthchance:  Have you considered the possibility of, I don’t know – getting a job to replace that income you’d be losing? I don’t mean that to sound harsh, but what would you do if he lost his job and didn’t have any money to give you. I know many people, myself included, who are only ordered to receive less that $400/month…and many of us don’t even get that. Typically the amount you receive is based on his income…so I don’t think there is any real guarantee that you will continue to receeve $1000/month until your child reaches adulthood anyway.

I’m not saying it would be easy to work, given your schedule of attending school full time – but it can be done. I worked full time while I obtained my degree, many people do….or even part time. You said you COULD make due if you had to, so I guess in the end it’s ultimately about what is the priority for you.

Even though bio may not have much to do with her now, if something were to happen to you, there is a very real possibility that he may want to step in and take custody as he may not want another man raising her, and there may be a chance that he could win that battle. Especially since she is only 2 years old. That’s not an obscenely long time for someone else to say he has raised her. It also seems he is financially pretty well off…enough to spare $1000/month anyway…which would also play well in his favor. You said his family wants him to fight…there’s another factor that would be in his favor – family support for her.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer that you will find on here. Like others have mentioned the possibility of something happening to you is slim…but as you pointed out, it’s definitely something to consider if you don’t want any chance for him to gain custody in the event that something does. Do i think he would fight for it? I don’t know. Do I think there is a chance he could get her if he did? Absolutely. I think if you are in the same position even 5 or 10 years from now you would have a much btter chance of winning if nothing has changed, but for now, she is still very young, and thus far he has done nothing but fight for his rights, even if he doesn’t utilize them. Is it worth it to give up $1000 a month to ensure that doesn’t happen? Well….that’s up to you.

I would think long and hard about the decision before you make up your mind. From the way it sounds…he likely wouldn’t agree to it anyway…and I’m pretty sure it would be a hard sell to the judge if he doesn’t, and would also look better on him if, in the future, something were to happen and he wanted full custody, because he can provide evidence that in the courts eyes he’s been fighting for her the whole time and has been paying support without issue.

It’s a tough situation, and I truly feel for you. In the meantime, I would at the least draw up a living will, so you have that, but as far as everything else, I think you really need to weigh out the pros and cons before you make any other legal moves. Good Luck!

Post # 16
Member
2720 posts
Sugar bee

I agree with PP on going to a lawyer. I don’t think you can have it all though. If he signs away his rights, that would make me think he has no financial obligation towards your daughter anymore. That being said, if you died, my thinking is that he automatically gets her. You’ll either have to forfeit child support if he even agrees to legally give her up (you can’t force him) or risk it. Personally I would risk it.

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