Request a Consultation
Offering Phone, Video, and In-Person Consultations 608-784-8310

Can My Husband Adopt My Child Without the Biological Father’s Consent?

Approximately 16% of all children live in a step-family. About 40% of U.S. families are blended, meaning that at least one partner has a child from a previous marriage or relationship. This has held true for many decades. In many cases, a stepparent wishes to adopt their stepchild. Stepparent adoptions are among the most common types of adoption in Wisconsin. Many people wonder whether a stepparent may adopt a stepchild without consent from the biological father.

Consent of the Biological Father

In Wisconsin, the law requires the consent of both biological parents for adoption. This means that the child’s mother and father must give permission to adopt. The biological father must terminate his parental rights before the child may be adopted by their stepfather. Termination of parental rights is the first step in the adoption process.

When a father terminates his parental rights, he will no longer have any responsibility for the child and will no longer have to pay child support. The parent would also no longer have court-ordered visitation with the child. Parents must consent to the termination of parental rights in a written document.

Termination of Parental Rights

If a biological parent consents to terminate his rights, it is called a voluntary termination. If the parent is unable or unwilling to terminate his rights, it may be possible to obtain an involuntary termination of parental rights. In that case, you will need to prove grounds for termination. Some valid termination grounds are:

  • Abandonment
  • Failure to assume parental responsibilities
  • Abuse
  • Child is a victim of incest or sexual abuse
  • Parent is unable to fulfill their parental responsibilities

Keep in mind that the courts will always act in the best interest of the child. The judge will review the details and decide whether termination of parental rights is best for the child. It is important to note that if the biological father is deceased, there is no need to provide termination consent.

Stepparent Adoption Process

Once the parental rights are legally terminated, you may proceed with the adoption process. A state-governed or state-approved agency will handle the details of the adoption. An investigation of the adoptive parent will take place. This will likely include a background check, a psychological evaluation, a medical review, an interview, and a home inspection. In many cases, this process is streamlined for an adoptive stepparent.

After the investigation is approved, the stepparent may file an adoption petition with the court. The court will schedule a hearing, at which time the judge will review the petition and approve the adoption. As long as the agency has approved the adoption and the biological parent has terminated his parental rights, the adoption will go through quickly.

Children often do their best when they are in a loving family environment. A stepparent adoption allows the child to become a full member of the family. Blended families are not always easy to navigate, but when a stepparent adopts their stepchild, it can help make the family more unified. To learn more about termination of parental rights and stepparent adoption, contact us at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online.

Published March 4, 2024
Posted in
Contact MSM Online Bill Pay