looking for legal advice.(7 Posts)
met dh when my dd was a baby. she has known him as daddy all her life - (she knows he isnt). we married and have had 3 further children. Dh has not adopted dd (she is now 16). We never use the term step father, he is her dad. thought about adoption in the past but as the natural father is on birth certificate - didnt want the hassle. plus i heard that i would have to adopt her too , and i didnt like that idea. recently been thinking of the legal ramifications of this decision. ie dh having no legal 'hold' over dd, and problems if ,god forbid, anything should happen to me. at the moment we have no wils - we keep saying we must do it - but as ever in busy families things get put on hold. Is it too late to adopt her now? what would happen if we did go down this route? any body experienced anythibg similar? thanks in advance x
Can I ask what "legal hold" do you mean for your dh?
Is it due to him making a will and diving up 4 ways for his three bio children and your dd?
Or do you mean as next of kin if you were not around and she was in hospital?
Hi there. I'm a family lawyer and whilst I haven't done any adoptions in a while, my understanding is that it's too late now and would be considered pointless by Social Services (who have to process the application) and by the Court.
If your concern is mainly what would happen to her if you die you can simply appoint him her guardian in your will. It would be sensible to appoint a second executor (assuming that he'd be your first exec) purely so that there is an element of arms length. What I mean by that is that if he needed money from the trust fund before she's 18, 21 or whatever age you've nominated for her to come into her legacy, then he'd have to get the second executor's consent to release the funds. This is very common practice and is set up that way in order to avoid the possibility, however remote, that a guardian would take money out of the trust fund inappropriately.
Is her natural father in touch at all? If not then you should achieve what you are looking for just by going down the will/guardian route.
Ivy - couldnt think of the right word. but yes - if we should die we want everything to be split 4 ways - if i go first everything i have goes to dh , if he then goes it will be split just the 3 ways. looks like the sooner we make wills the better!! The hospital issue is a good example - there have been times when he has signed forms as her parent. we never thought of it as an issue until recently - but i guess he had no right to sign. We are just a family unit - not a step family.
mumble chum - natural father is in touch with dd but they have only met once - a couple of years ago. they email occasionally. not a close link at all. can i appoint dh her legal guardian if natural father is around?
Yes, you can appoint him but it would be sensible if your solicitor specifically mentions in the guardianship clause that you are appointing your dh as her guardian as contact with her father is minimal. Given her age I really don't think you'd have a problem. No court would award residence of your daughter to her father in these circumstances. It wouldn't be necessary for her stepfather to apply for residence unless her father made an application and as I say it would be a no brainer that she should stay with her stepfather
Thank you for your advice. will consult a solicitor.
We went to Social Services yesterday about the first step of my husband adopting my 4 children. It will be only him adopting the children as it is no longer a requirement for the natural parent to adopt alongside. There is a waiting list in our area and we have been told that when our names come to the top of the list the process will begin, with a homestudy and them talking to all the fathers and grandparents and obviously us and the children. It costs £140 for each application that you put in for so will be abit costly, but we are frankly not fussed. We have informed the fathers of our intentions and 1 is going to contest but after talking to the social worker we have a pretty solid case against him to have the court to overturn his responsibility. She also said there was no need for solicitors until the point it's ready to go into court and at that point we will appoint a barrister. I hope this will answer any questions.
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