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Stepparent adoption in South Carolina

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  • Stepparent adoption in South Carolina

    Hopefully someone can help me out with this, as I've heard different things.

    I had my daughter 5 years ago with an ex. We were together about half of her life (though he didn't really do anything for her.) and then we split up. The last time he had any sort of contact, which was to call her at my parents house, was in November of 2004.

    Since then, I met someone in December 2004 and we began dating. He was always there for both me and my daughter, and in December of 2005, we got married.

    He is wanting to adopt my daughter, as he has given her the love, warmth, and the kind of life that she has always deserved.

    We do not know where the biological father is. My parents had found out that he has been in and out of jail since he last contacted her, and as far as I know, that is where he is at.

    He does not pay child support and does not have any visitation. I never tried to get child support because, quite frankly, I do not need his money, nor do I want any kind of involvement with him, and I do not want him around my daughter. He is a drug addict, a convict, and she has pretty much forgotten about him.

    My question is: How do I go about even starting the adoption process? I'm basically clueless about this whole thing, and I heard from someone who had went through this that she had to wait 18 months with no contact with the biological father before she could do anything. But I have also heard that with things such as long periods of incarceration, no attempts to contact the child, etc., that a judge can terminate his parental rights.

    Also, I have heard that these proceedings can get very costly, so how much would I be looking at, with attorney fees, court costs, etc? Of course, money is no object when it comes to my daughter, but its always nice to be well informed.

    Any information anyone can give me would be appreciated! Thanks for letting me vent!

  • #2
    1. Generally it's to be 1 year no contact and/or no support. The fact he doesn't pay support will NOT come into play here because it was never applied for. Some states, such as Tennessee have a 6 month period but I've never heard of anything over a year.

    2. Some states require that you are married for one year before any adoption.

    3. NC does not require a step-parent adoption in order to terminate parental right.. just a FYI

    4. As far as costs, that really depends. This is a process of getting free consults and getting prices. Some states require a home study which will also up the costs, some don't.

    5. All states will require that you in some way show good faith in contacting the father to get permission. If paternity has not been established that may have to be done also. This could be as easy as biological father admitting paternity, then agreeing to the adoption, to as extensive as going through DNA testing. Even if he doesn't give consent for the adoption under certain grounds it can be done anyway, except again child support won't come into play.

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    • #3
      I am referring you to http://www.adoption.com and you should look up stepparent adoption and scroll to the SC resource page. As a practical matter, you have to serve him, so you need to try tnad find him, or else you may have to do notice publication in the location of his last known whereabouts. If he has been in jail, there should be a correctional record somewhere that is a public record.

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      • #4
        more stepparent adoption questions for SC

        My daughter's (11) biological father told me last week he wanted my daughter to be adopted by my husband. He lives in OH, we live in SC. Unfortunately, we live in a county that hasn't really gotten up with the times so I'm trying to find the forms to do it myself. I did this in Ohio when my daughter was 2, which never went through due to the fact the bio-dad's mother got involved. He will sign a consent & relinquish but I am wondering if anyone knows where I can find stepparent forms for SC (edgefield county). I spoke with an attorney and they want anywhere from $1500-2000 which I seriously can not afford and I know the bio-dad won't pay it. Any suggestions?

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