Saturday, April 12, 2014

Abandonment and Adoption Questions

Q:  I have sole custody of my 5 year old daughter. My fiancée has been in her life since day 1. My daughters father has never seen my daughter but has filed papers for custody and visitation. He has a history of filing papers and showing up for the initial appearance but then stops appearing. I am curious as to what is considered abandonment, and what is the time frame for abandonment? Also my fiancée wants to adopt my daughter, but now that papers have been filed I understand that is not an option unless the father complies. Is there such a thing as revoking parental rights in NYS? Or does the father have to give the ok for her to be adopted by my fiancée?

A:  David's Answer:  6 months is the standard for legal abandonment in order to file for a step-parent adoption. If the father has not had "substantial contact" with the child for the 6 months prior to the filing of your adoption case, then it's likely you be able to have the adoption approved. Speak to an adoption lawyer in your area.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

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