Having an absent father is hard on any child. For the fortunate ones, a stepfather has stepped up and fulfilled that role. If this is you, your stepchild probably calls you “dad”. To your stepchild, you are their real dad, but the law doesn’t see it that way.
ADOPTING A STEPCHILD WITH AN ABSENT FATHER
Fortunately, if their absent parent really is an absent father, you can adopt and have full legal rights as if they were your own biological child. Even if the biological father refuses to give his consent and/or is nowhere to be found.
So, what is considered an absent father? Essentially, if they have failed to do either one of the following:
- If the absent parent has not maintained a relationship with the child for 12 consecutive months out of the last 14 months preceding the filing of the adoption petition;
- If the absent parent has not provided financial support for the child for 12 consecutive months out of the last 14 months preceding the filing of the adoption petition.
If the absent father has failed to do EITHER of the above, then you can adopt your stepchild!