This is the next post in my series about step-parent adoptions in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last post discussed the adoption process when the birth parent voluntarily terminates his or her parental rights and consents to the adoption. In this article, I will review how to proceed when the biological parent fails to give consent. As you might expect, the lack of consent may result in a longer and more complicated path to complete the adoption. It is important to engage an experienced family law attorney to help you understand your options. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak to a lawyer.
It is not uncommon for a biological parent to initially object to a request to give up his parental rights. Terminating all rights and responsibilities to a child is a life-changing decision. In some cases, a biological parent may actively oppose the request and will have the opportunity to present evidence to the judge that the termination would not be in the best interest of his child. In many cases, however, a step-parent adoption request follows a period of estrangement between the birth parent and the child and is often coupled with a failure to pay child support obligations. Commonly, someone who initially refuses to consent to a step-parent adoption will be willing to negotiate a settlement releasing him from his obligation to pay back child support in exchange for his consent. Once consent is obtained, the uncontested hearing process will take place as discussed more fully in my previous post. A family law attorney may be able to assist if negotiations with the biological parent are required.
Another common scenario occurs when the birth parent cannot be located and therefore cannot consent to the termination of his rights. In Las Vegas, a parent seeking an adoption is required to make every attempt to locate the birth parent so that he can be informed about the termination request. The court requires an Affidavit of Due Diligence to be filed, typically by a third party process server, detailing the efforts made to find and properly serve the parent. If he still has not been located, the court may permit the party to serve the notice by publication in a newspaper. The notice must be published once per week for four consecutive weeks. In addition, the missing parent’s nearest relative must be served with the petition. Once service of process is deemed complete, the court will issue a default judgment against the nonresponsive party and grant the termination of his parental rights. From this point forward, the parties will proceed to file their Petition For Adoption. It is important to note that under these circumstances, unpaid child support amounts will still be due and are collectible.
Given the specific legal requirements involved when a birth parent does not consent to the termination of parental rights, it is important to retain an attorney with adoption experience in Las Vegas. My office focuses on family law and is committed to handling your case with the care it deserves. Contact my office today to speak to a lawyer.