Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

Step-Parent Adoption

I have a 8 y.o. son, my husband has been his dad for 6+ years. I have no contact with the real father; he is married and has another son. I receive child support thru the Virginia Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA).The real father contested the child support; blood tests proved he was the father. He was ordered to pay support; I got full custody. After court, I invited him to visit our son, he didn’t. I saw him a few years later when he filed for visitations and support reduction. My proposed child visitation agreement was accepted by the real father and his attorney. He was awarded a reduction in child support based on the fact he had another child. As of today, the real father hasn’t contacted me or his son. Last night my husband and I explained this to ''our'' son and our wish to adopt him; he wants to be a part of this process. I tried to contact my son real father at his home 5 years ago on the adoption, but he refused to answer the door. He & his wife sold their home in Laurel, MD, I don’t know where they moved. I receive my child support because his retirement was garnished. How difficult would it be to adopt my son? How expensive? Once adopted, is the biological father no longer required to pay “back-child support”?

Asked on 5/12/08, 10:07 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

Re: Step-Parent Adoption

It shouldn't be difficult to accomplish the adoption, but you have to do it properly. That means filing a petition for adoption in the circuit court of your county, and "serving" the petition on the bio father, probably at his last known address and by a newspaper notice. It sounds like it's unlikely that the bio father will contest, since once the adoption is granted, his child support obligation will end, although he will still be responsible for support owed up until then.

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Answered on 5/13/08, 10:10 am

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