After the divorce has been declared final, the two ex-spouses have to face their new lives. They have to live with the terms of the divorce. This includes matters on child custody, visitation rights, child support, and alimony.
There is a big possibility that one or both ex-spouses will remarry. This should not be an issue for the other parent. After divorce, both are no longer bound to each other, aside from the ties to their child.
If your ex-husband has remarried, there is a possibility that the new stepmother would want to adopt your child.
Conditions for a Stepparent Adopting a Child
The intention to adopt a child would arise when the stepparent is taking full-time responsibility for the child. They would want to evolve from being a “step-family” to a legitimate family. However, the law requires consideration for the other parent.
If your child’s stepmother wants to adopt your child, then your own parental rights would have to be eliminated. This requires your consent. No one can force you to agree with adoption if you wish to retain any parental right to your child.
In this case, the petition will have to move to court as your ex-husband and his new wife request to terminate your parental rights. They have to prove any of the following:
- That you have abandoned your child. This means you have not communicated with your child nor provided any form of financial support through a certain period of time. For many states, it is usually a year.
- That you are an unfit parent. In this case, most states would recommend a fitness hearing if needed. If there is a tendency or actual instances of abuse or mental conditions that could pose harm to the child. Also, if they prove that you are a neglectful parent or have addictions, then the court would be prompted to deem you unfit.
- For cases wherein the father is the parent in question, the court can terminate parental rights if it is proven that the ex-husband is not the real biological father.
The Next Steps
Even if they succeed in terminating your parental rights, the adoption is not yet final. The court will have to conduct a social study, which can consist of several interviews, evaluations, and investigations. This time, it is the stepmother on trial, as the judge will have to determine whether she is fit to adopt the child.
There will also be an Amicus Attorney, who will also make the same evaluations. The Amicus attorney will be appointed by the court, and provide a non-biased opinion on the results of the social study. They can also conduct their own additional investigations, and eventually, make a recommendation on whether the adoption should be finalized or not.
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