Legal Question in Family Law in Indiana

Custody of a child

My boyfriend is being told by his ex wife that she is going to force him to give up his daughter for adoption to her new husband-to-be. He pays his child support and is currently paying an additional $10.00 per week for the arrears that he had when they first separated and she told him not to pay.

My question is, he believes that he has no rights and can be forced into giving up his daughter. He has a history of alcoholism but does not drink when he has his daughter and I know this to be true. What rights does he have? He has a lot of legal fees already and isn't sure he can obtain legal help.....

Asked on 3/18/02, 1:11 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Ralph Tambasco Tambasco & Associates,P.C. Attornenys at Law

Re: Custody of a child

First understand that under Indiana parenting guidelines he does have a right to have and maintain a relationship with the child.

The only legal and likely way this could be altered is by court order. This would happen if found it was in the best interest of the child. Even then it is likely it would only be supervised visatation. Again this would have to be ordered by the court and the court alone. If this was not, then consult the guidelines which took effect in July of last year.

Second, unless the state has brought an action known as a "Child in Need of Services" which could impact his parental rights, he cannot be forced by his ex wife to do so. In fact, he would have to sign a consent and waiver to do so. Unless this his desire, he should not if he intends to remain a part of the child's life as her natural father. If adoption proceedings have already begun, he is required to be properly served. If he indeed has, he may really wish to consider engaging the services of an attorney.

Should you wish to discuss this further, you may contact me at 317 686-0000 or [email protected]

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Answered on 3/18/02, 1:33 pm

NiCale Rector Cohen & Malad, LLP

Re: Custody of a child

From your message, I am under the impression that he has some regular contact with the child and is paying child support. Under Indiana Statute his consent would be required for the adoption to take place. However, if he is considered to have abandoned the child for 6 mo or has failed to support or communicate with the child for 1 year then his consent is not required. Additionally, his consent would not be required if the courts found the child to be a "child in need of services" to which with a court action they could terminate his parental rights. But he will know if this happens and his rights won't be terminated without a hearing.

He should pay his support through the child support clerk so that there will never be a question of whether or not he is paying support and he should visit with his daughter as provided under the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines.

The gist of the law is that if he wants to be a dad and is doing what he should be doing then she can't have someone adopt the child without his consent. Should his ex at any time try and wiggle her way around the statute by denying him visitation he needs to file a contempt against her and enforce his right to have a relationship with his child, and thus, prevent her from interfering with his relationship (which most judges don't like), and prevent her from falling into one of the statute catagories.

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Answered on 3/18/02, 2:27 pm

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