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SA Step-parent Adoption

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by TheJT11, 29 May 2015.

  1. TheJT11

    TheJT11 Member

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    I have been with my de facto partner for 4 years now. She has a child from a previous relationship who is 6. The biological father has spent less than 20 days with the child throughout the entire duration of my relationship with my partner. His care factor has been non-existent until recently. Due to external motivations, he has decided to take us to court in order to see his child. I hate saying his child. He is my son.

    Unfortunately, due to the system being how it is, there is no way that we can keep our child away from him.

    My question is: If I were to marry my partner (it's on the books) would I then be able to adopt her son, legally making him mine and giving her douche of an ex no rights under family law?

    Please help if possible

    Thanks.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, you won't be able to adopt the child without the father's consent, regardless of the nature of relationship between you and the mother.

    If the father has had minimal involvement in the child's life by his own choice, or has demonstrated a risk of harm to the child, the mother may be able to pursue sole parental responsibility. While this may not give you any parental responsibility, it will limit the father's capacity to have a say about the child's life.

    Bear in mind though that this is a very difficult order to have made by the court. The court upholds only the child's rights in proceedings, which is to know, spend time and communicate with both parents and other people relevant to their care (which includes you, her step-father) on a regular basis, insofar as the child's best interests can be met, and it is obliged to make parenting orders that are only in the best interests of the child. It's not often the court will rule it's not in a child's best interests to have a relationship with their father. At a psychological level, not having the influence of a biological parent has often been shown to cause more harm than good.

    I want to add that in proceedings, being seen to be unsupportive of a child's relationship with the other parent can often lead to highly unfavourable results. In many cases (and more frequently of late), the court has ordered a change of residency where one parent has refused to acknowledge the importance to the child of having a relationship with the other parent.

    Parenting matters are very delicate. There's a lot of right ways and wrong ways to do things, and what a parent decides is right may not be what the court decides is right.

    I am sorry if this isn't what you want to hear. I'm a step-parent myself and my step-daughter's mother is a challenging individual, too. It's a difficult situation, but I found the post-separation parenting course offered by Relationships Australia to be very helpful in dealing with the challenges. The court will order it anyway, most likely, so maybe now is a good time to look into it.

    Again, sorry if it's not what you want to hear, but I hope I've at least helped in some way.
     
  3. TheJT11

    TheJT11 Member

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    You're right. This isn't what I wanted to hear. Especially as the biological father is a drug-using bum who hasn't had a stable job for 4 years.
    Regardless I appreciate your help. We have already been through the process of going to the parenting course at child services SA and have had the child refuse to see the biological father on 3 separate occasions. Apparently even though we verbally encouraged the child to see the biological father, because it appeared as though we gave him a choice in the matter, and because we had plans made for the nights of the visits, and because I stood up for my child when he was belittled by one of the workers, we are deemed to be the ones in the wrong and have thus had a negative report written about us. The biological father has chosen to take the action of having all parties involved meet with a psychologist so that she (the psychologist) can attempt to determine what is in the best interest for the child. According to our lawyer this is the last straw and that there i nothing we can do to stop the biological father from getting the child on every second weekend. I just think it's unjustified that just because he is the biological father, it means it is better psychologically for the child to see him. The child calls me dad and has done so for some time and I struggle to understand how my child spending time with a low-life such as the biological father is of any benefit. But hey, according to the law I have no say and no rights.
     

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