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Do we stand a good chance? step parent adopting?

(17 Posts)
Stepparentadoptionadvice Wed 08-Feb-17 13:57:59

We're looking into step parent adoption and wondered if we have a good case? child is 5 this year and had max 30 mins contact with bio dad in a court ordered contact centre, supervised with notes and he hasn't seen or sent the child anything since. (4 years this year, was court ordered contact - he stopped paying and turning up for so court closed his application with a no court order)

Since then he’d message me threatening with mediation and contact orders with the court. None of which have materialised. He was violent, numerous police visit's with warnings not to contact, undertaking for a non-molestation order, solicitors warning letters for harassment, investigation for rape etc

he would object out of spite nothing more due to the way he used court to control and harass me, he hasn't applied for any contact despite making numerous threats, even when we were in court for the non molestation order he told them he had already paid and had put his form in. When they checked it was a lie, he took another form home that day and once again never put in. He’s made threats of putting in court applications towards my solicitor and the police since. My partner has been there since our child was 1 and never left, our child sees him as dad, we also have another child together.

The only thing holding us back is that we don't want to start the process for him to use it as an avenue for contact out of spite (the last court proceedings ended with him telling us we've won this round and the fights just beginning)

He does pay child support but that was because I made him through the CSA once my child was 6 months old, I know they have to contact him to ask his opinion on the adoption and I know he'll most likely say no so it'd have to go to court for us to argue back but would you recommend it? Do we have a good case?

Are these good reasons?

-Stopped turning up and paying for contact when it was court ordered
-Undertaking for harassment
-Numerous police visits due to harassment
-No contact since
-Told me he didn’t want contact as had his own family now
-Never sent birthday/Christmas cards/presents
-Breached his undertaking
-We’re getting married soon and all want partners name
-Maliciously tried to blocked child’s passport because he could
-Threatened to kidnap him
-Partner takes/picks him to/up from school
-explained the circumstances to child and they want to be adopted by partner

Stepparentadoptionadvice Wed 08-Feb-17 19:20:23

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RedHelenB Thu 09-Feb-17 11:01:31

At age 5 a child cant fully understand all the implications so I cant see that their opinion will be taken into account too much.

You need to also think about your child having someones name that he isnt related to. If you split up next year what then?

I cant see a court allowing it if he does object - as you say he is paying child maintenance.

Stepparentadoptionadvice Thu 09-Feb-17 12:05:45

My child has my surname, has always had my surname since birth so we'd all have his name.

He is paying maintenance because he had no choice, didn't for the first 6 months but now the CSA is closing applications that will stop and he won't be paying anymore anyway

DragonMamma Thu 09-Feb-17 18:49:30

We did a step parent adoption but my Dd's bio dad was more useless than abusive.

We waited until she was 6 before starting the process and it was pretty tough and that's without the bio dad objecting to it.

The sw advised us that poking the beast can mean you end up with them having contact when they don't currently.

Why is the adoption important to you? The courts don't always accept the 'we want to be a family' line or the argument of all having the same name as that can be achieved by, in part,a PR order for your dh (the courts generally prefer you to be married) or the courts authorising a change of name.

For us, the benefits outweighed the risks but we purposely waited until we'd been married a few years and it had been 5+ years since any contact.

He still had to agree to it and speak to a sw then again to sign the papers. If you think there's any chance he wouldn't agree then I wouldn't bother as courts are always reluctant to dispense with their authority, unless the reasons are extreme or a vastly significant amount of time has passed since contact.

EyeStye Thu 09-Feb-17 18:55:44

Would you be happy with step parent Parental Responsibilty rather than adoption?
Adoption extinguishes PR for the father and is very rarely done. No chance IMO

smu06set Thu 09-Feb-17 19:01:59

Have you looked into a step parent responsibility order? That is what we are going for. Same rights as adoption but it means we dont have to contact bio dad at all.
Re surname - is your childs bio dad on the birth certificate? If not (and he doesnt have parental responsibility via another means) you can change your childs surname via deed poll.
Fyi - i met my now husband when my son was 3, he has never called him dad but nor he is 10 we are able to have conversations along the lines of how my husband didnt make him but he has always been there so is his dad in other ways. Would never let him think my husband was technically his dad as that will lead to problems later on.

Hecticlifeanddrowning8 Thu 09-Feb-17 19:19:46

The child's opinion is not taken into account unless they are 10 or over , and basically they only things that will hold up is the things you have actual proof of , such as the court closing his application for non attendance. Do you have any proof of attempted kidnap? E.g. A crime number from the police? Because if not you are not allowed to submit it as it's classed as hearsay .
You say the father tried to block the child's passport application just because he could? Unfortunately I would think he would do the same with an adoption order if he is like that. The only thing that may appeal to him is not having to pay maintenance. Good luck 💐

Stepparentadoptionadvice Thu 09-Feb-17 20:53:11

We want his PR gone, he doesn't use it and when he does it's for the wrong reasons.

It's important to us because we want to become a legal family unit, if anything were to happen to me I want my children to stay together and with DP I wouldn't want him rocking up to court saying well she's dead now i'm the father and I want the child or taking him like he has threatened (we have proof) and DP not being able to stop him. Also when we are married we want the children to be treated fairly if we died. If he didn't have PR all those claims, excuses he's used for harassment and everything else would end.

Bio dad would have to be contacted as the court gave him PR

We've already had the conversations that he's not DC's legal father as I said, he met DC at 1 so we've had many talks about how old DC was when they met and how he didn't create DC

We have proof of his closed court application, messages saying he has his family and doesn't want contact, messages saying he will take DC, proof he tried to block DC passport application and even had letters addressed to me sent to his house Proof he's made numerous statements saying he's filing for contact but never has, proof he's said he's going to mediation but never has, proof of the undertaking and that it was breached

As of later this year he won't be paying any maintenance anyway

traviata Thu 09-Feb-17 21:00:19

All of those problems could be addressed by PR for your DP and a joint residence order to you and DP.

what do you mean by "want the children to be treated fairly when we die"? If you mean financially, then you and DP should make wills.

Stepparentadoptionadvice Thu 09-Feb-17 21:05:34

He won't agree to either of those. He will still use the child as a scape goat for the harassment as he has done.

We have wills but as he's not DC's father and he has PR over him hell would freeze over before he let dc stay with my partner or anyone else.

Familylawsolicitor Fri 10-Feb-17 03:46:30

A PR order and joint residence order to you and your DH now will protect in the event of your death.
Your child is very young and the father has said at times he wants contact although inconsistently. He has by the sounds of things behaved very badly but these are not unusual allegations in contact cases and wouldn't prevent contact taking place now let alone justify extinguishing PR. Removal of PR is not remotely likely in a case where he doesn't consent and the obvious reaction to your application will be him to say "but I want contact". Please get legal advice before you embark on this.

Stepparentadoptionadvice Fri 10-Feb-17 09:54:51

Will he have to be notified and agree to both of those though?

We also don't want him using that application for contact.

IF we were to change DC name without his consent what legal repercussions would we face (i.e fine, prison etc)? DC always had my name, never his so not severing any family name ties and obviously DC doesn't even see him so no link to him like that. We wouldn't want to contact him due to fear of his violent/stalking outburst again.

Familylawsolicitor Fri 10-Feb-17 11:18:37

Yes he'll be notified and given the chance to respond but you are more likely to be successful in that application. You can't achieve any change to the current situation by way of a court application without him being notified and having a chance to participate so you'll have to decide if you want to embark on contested proceedings in which he is likely to raise the issue of contact, or keep the status quo.
You won't be fined or imprisoned for changing your DC's name. The court would be very critical if you were removing his surname without consent but it's probably far less of a problem that your DC has never had his name. You can use a "known as" name with school GP etc but a formal change of name deed shouldn't be valid without his consent, which would be needed for passport bank accounts etc, although people do get them done without consent.

prh47bridge Fri 10-Feb-17 11:25:33

He would need to be notified. He does not have to agree but you will need to go to court to get an order.

You cannot stop him applying for contact.

If you attempt to change your child's name without the father's consent you would not face any criminal sanctions but the new name should not be accepted by any official body. Your child's GP, school, etc., should continue to use your child's current name. If you apply for a passport it will have to be in your child's current name. And if the father were to apply for contact or similar he would be able to use your attempt to change your child's name without his consent as evidence that you are acting unreasonably. If you want to change your child's name and the father will not consent you can apply to the courts for a Specific Issue Order allowing the change. Again, the father would have to be notified of your application.

I should note that, in the absence of any order giving you residence, you would be committing a criminal offence if you take your child out of the country without the father's consent, even if it is just for a holiday. It is relatively unlikely you would be prosecuted for this but it is something else the father could use to cause problems for you and your partner.

As Familylawsolicitor says, you need legal advice.

prh47bridge Fri 10-Feb-17 11:28:14

Cross-posted with Familylawsolicitor.

You can use a "known as" name with school GP

I have to disagree a little with Familylawsolicitor on this. You can try but official guidance is that schools should not accept "known as" names and should stick to the name on the child's birth certificate unless it is clear that everyone with PR has consented to the change. Of course, some schools ignore this guidance but there is no guarantee your child's school will agree to a name change.

Stepparentadoptionadvice Fri 10-Feb-17 12:03:42

We're not trying to stop him applying he just doesn't do it. It's an empty threat he uses to try and control us

He's already tried to use us going on holiday as me being "unreasonable" and the judge said that itself was unreasonable when he doesn't turn up for contact. He honestly doesn't care about the interest of the child it's about him sadly

It's all about control with him.

We more than likely won't do any proceedings so he stays away. If he start proceedings though can my dh be added to the proceedings?

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