Seattle, WA asked in Adoption and Child Custody for Idaho

Q: Can you adopt a child without the parents consent if you've been raising the child for years and the mother only visits?

My husband has been raising his ex- girlfriends daughter since she was 3 she is now 10 and the mother left her and their child together with him about 3 years ago and only would visit them occasionally and now lives out of state and pretty much just calls them- we are wondering what we can do and what our rights are

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin M Rogers
Kevin M Rogers
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Boise, ID
  • Licensed in Idaho

A: To answer the first question, "Yes" you CAN adopt a child . . . without the parent's consent.

Here's the catch: NOTHING your husband or you have done for their daughter in the intervening 7 years has given you ANY PARENTAL RIGHTS. During the past 7 years you COULD HAVE:

1. Petitioned the Court to become the child's guardian and/or conservator;

2. Petitioned the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to open a file to garnish the wages of "mom" and "dad" to help offset the money you've been required to pay out to raise this little girl.

SO, now what you need to do is get an attorney and file a 1) Petition to Terminate mom and dad's parental rights; and 2) Petition for Adoption.

I would be remiss if I didn't warn you that ALTHOUGH the "so-called parents" of this child haven't acted like parents, if they were asked and called to account for their "non-action," I'm sure they would have LOTS of "reasons or excuses." Those "excuses," if you wait very long to file these papers could result, if you're NOT lucky, in some Magistrate feeling bad for these bio parents and giving them a chance to reunite with their daughter. So, the old adage "don't let grass grow under your feet" is a truism. Don't wait to do this until the parents "meet god" or have another epiphany because you'll have a REAL FIGHT on your hands then!

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