Legal Question in Family Law in Indiana

How to Adopt

I have been divorced for about 7 mo and my ex-husband has not paid any support or had anything to do with our 2 children since the divorce. He had no part in the divorce I had to publish it in the paper for it to be final because they couldn't find him. He has now left the state and no one can find him.I am now remarried to someone who wants to adopt my children. I don't have enough money for a lawyer, so how do i go about getting them adopted by my new husband.

Asked on 3/14/02, 10:01 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

NiCale Rector Cohen & Malad, LLP
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Re: How to Adopt

In order to appropriately file a step-parent adoption in Indiana you must be remarried to the adopting parent for one-year. Additionally, under Indiana law your new husband will not be able to adopt until your ex signs away his rights, either fails to knowingly support or communicate with the children for one-year, or is deemed to have abandoned your children for six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition.

The trick to doing a step-parent adoption is making sure that you jump through all the hoops so that your ex cannot come back and re-open the adoption. From the facts you have provided it appears that service will be at issue. You have to make sure that you get some type of service on him, even if it is by publication. Since it sounds like you may have trouble finding your ex I advise you to start saving for when you have been married for a year and can get an attorney to make sure that you have dotted all of your i's and crossed your t's. If you hire an attorney who knows what they are doing the costs should outweigh what it will cost you if your ex ever tries to re-open the adoption.

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Answered on 3/14/02, 7:28 pm

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