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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Default Terminating Parental Rights When the Father is in Prison, Living in Different States

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Illinois

    y son is 10. I was in a relationship with his dad for two years. Since that time his dad has been in prison 3 years, drug charge. Now on trial for first degree murder. (Yes I made a mistake with the father, but I got my son out of it, a blessing.) I have provided 100% financial and emotional support for 7 years. Never received a dollar in child support. I now live in Colorado. I moved away when his dad was in prison (after consulting an attorney) for a promotion. Son's dad lives in/in jail in Illinois and son was born in Illinois. His dad never attempted contact after he got out of prison the first time (from ages 4-7). I am now engaged. My fiancee wants to adopt my son after we marry in 2020 and I want to petition for dad to lose his parental rights. Since I live in CO and son's dad is in jail I IL, how would this be possible? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    15,683

    Default Re: Terminating Parental Rights - Father in Prison, Living in Different States

    Its really too soon to be contemplating this. You are not yet married and dad has not yet been convicted of murder. Wait until you actually get married and have been married for a while. If dad get convicted it will also give you a greater chance of success, even if he objects.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    3

    Default Re: Terminating Parental Rights - Father in Prison, Living in Different States

    Thank you. Yes, the plan is to petition for this after we are married next year regardless of whether he is convicted or not. Just thinking ahead as to how this can be done since I now live in Colorado.

    Would I need to get an attorney in Illinois for this since his dad is in Illinois?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    15,683

    Default Re: Terminating Parental Rights - Father in Prison, Living in Different States

    Quote Quoting ttsgma
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    Thank you. Yes, the plan is to petition for this after we are married next year regardless of whether he is convicted or not. Just thinking ahead as to how this can be done since I now live in Colorado.

    Would I need to get an attorney in Illinois for this since his dad is in Illinois?
    No, you would need an adoption attorney in your state. Again, however, you are way ahead of yourself and need to just stop thinking about it entirely until after you have been married for a decent amount of time.

    If you end up divorced after a couple of years will you be happy sharing custody with your fiancé/newly adoptive dad? Would you be happy giving custody entirely to your fiancé/newly adoptive dad? If you end up divorced after a couple of years will your then ex husband be happy to share custody/pay child support to you for a child he newly adopted? Adoption is a permanent thing. That is why courts generally expect stepparents to be married for a period of time before they will even consider a stepparent adoption, and why it takes jumping through some major hoops to terminate a biological parent's rights.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    3

    Default Re: Terminating Parental Rights - Father in Prison, Living in Different States

    Thank you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,433

    Default Re: Terminating Parental Rights - Father in Prison, Living in Different States

    Quote Quoting ttsgma
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    Since I live in CO and son's dad is in jail I IL, how would this be possible? Thank you.
    There are two ways this can go. Either the father consents to relinquishment of his rights and to the adoption or he refuses consent.

    If he will grant consent, then you would start with the adoption process in Colorado. The Colorado courts have a step parent adoption instruction sheet that will explain generally what is required. You'd want the help of a family law attorney in Colorado to ensure it gets done right, but the instruction sheet will at least give you an idea of what's involved.

    If he does not grant consent then you must first get a court to terminate his parental rights. The problem is that the father is in Illinois and evidently has no connection to Colorado. As a result, the Colorado courts would not have jurisdiction over the father. That means the termination proceeding would have to be done in Illinois. If you succeeded in that, then you'd go back to Colorado for the step parent adoption, and the process would again be what is explained in that instruction sheet. Chances are that given the lack of involvement of the father over the last 7 years coupled with a conviction for murder (should that occur) the Illinois courts would likely agree to termination of his parental rights. But you'd have to ask an Illinois family law attorney about that.

    I agree that you'll need to be married for at least a year or two to show that the marriage is stable for your best shot at getting the step parent adoption approved. But see a Colorado family law attorney after you are married to figure out an exact plan for approaching this.

    I'm glad you were able to get away from the father. Hopefully your fiancé will turn out to be a much better pick than the father.

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