My question involves adoption law for the State of: Washington
I am the noncustodial parent (NCP) of a child living in Washington state. I live in a different state. This question might be a little odd compared to others on this forum.
My biological child was the product of an extramarital affair that happened a number of years ago. Upon learning that I was the biological parent of this child, I began paying monthly child support in the amount agreed upon between me and the custodial parent (not court ordered). As hard as it was, I also told my loving spouse about the child and the affair. While I was able to maintain my marriage (after a lot of counseling and building of trust), it was clear that it would not be in the child's best interest to be in my life (the relationship between me and the custodial parent was not good -- many things happened that made the situation highly volatile). Either way, I've paid child support for well over 7 years (all documented by the way), while never seeing my biological child once (the custodial parent did not keep the child from me, this was our decision). Eventually the custodial parent moved to Washington state (which is many thousands of miles away from me) with the child and began dating another person. They have been married now for 1 year after dating for almost 3. Recently I contacted the custodial parent about the idea of their new spouse adopting the child. I communicated to the custodial parent that I'd be willing to terminate my parental rights to make this a possibility since it appears this is the biggest hurdle in all of the adoption literature I read. The custodial parent responded by saying the new spouse EVENTUALLY wants to adopt, but a lawyer told them they would need to be married for 3 years before the WA court agrees to the adoption. The step parent has a fantastic relationship with the child (so says social media that I'm not blocked from).
I absolutely understand my financial responsibility to my biological child, I am not trying to skirt that, but it appears the custodial parent is taking me for a ride. I also support two other children with my current spouse. From my perspective, the custodial parent and our child are now benefiting from two incomes (mine and the new spouse). While my family gets what's left. It's probably clear at this point that the new spouse and me are the respective household breadwinners. It's clear an adoption will eventually occur, but another two years means thousands of lost dollars for a child that someone else is raising and loving as their own. Is there anything that I can do to speed up the process? Can I personally fill out termination of rights paper work and submit it to them? I know that many will say "are you sure about losing your rights, you made the mistake, now deal with it", but so much of this is water under the bridge. I am a logical person and I can never see myself treating this child the same as my others after everything their custodial parent said and did following our affair and the revelation of paternity. Nor do I want to put my saint of a spouse through that hardship. I can wax poetic about this situation for days, but I've tried to present the basic facts above.
If you're interested in my feelings beyond the facts: Those in my position are often painted as the "enemy" and/or deadbeat, when in fact I've maintained employment and my financial responsibility ever since our support agreement began. The custodial parent, on the other hand, has jumped from job to job, attended college, gone overseas a couple of times, and left the child with relatives for large swatches of times. Every once in a while I'd receive a picture of our child via text or email, but mostly the only time I heard from the custodial parent was if the child support check was late by a day or two. Or if there was something else they needed money for. Did I mention this person moved to one of the most expensive cities in the United States? So additional funds are always a need. Many times I've paid a couple hundred extra dollars a month to help out with various child care costs, bills, etc. To top this all off, when I sent my initial message about ending support and going down the termination of rights and adoption route, the custodial parent threatened to "expose" me for things I did many years ago that they believed my spouse didn't know about. Because our situation is so convoluted, I'm not sure if that's technically blackmail/extortion or not, but either way it's pretty childish.
Any words of wisdom or personal experiences would greatly be appreciated. From everything I've read and seen, those in my position have very little leverage, unfortunately.