Adoption and Termination


#1

I signed a consent custody order agreeing to weekend supervised visits with my son. The order allows his mother to decide who supervises, and although I have been available for every visit (over a year in effect now) about half the time she has changed her mind about supervisors, or decided that she doesn’t have time to bring my son to the visit, so about half of the visits haven’t occurred. Child support has been paid in full on time consistently, and I’ve frequently provided clothes, toys, birthday & christmas presents, etc.

Now she’s remarried, and her new husband has informed me that they’re beginning the process to have him adopt my son and that he expects to make decisions about my presence in my son’s life. I would prefer that we attend mediation, and to modify the custody agreement to allow unsupervised overnights. They prefer termination of my rights, however.

My son is four and prior to our separation I was a stay at home dad, he still calls me daddy and enjoys our time together. I want to be more involved in his life and would like nothing better than an opportunity to sit down and discuss our goals for him as parents. I want to be involved with his life, his school, and in short, I want to be his father.

Do I have the right to consent or block the adoption process? How does it relate to termination of my parental rights? As I understand, there are no grounds for termination, except that the new husband prefers to be the father and wants me gone.


#2

In order for your ex’s new husband to adopt your son, they must have your parental rights terminated. The termination of parental rights (TPR) statute has two parts. First, there must be grounds for termination. Some examples include abuse/neglect, failure to provide child support, and leaving the child in foster care. After the court finds grounds, it has to ask if terminating a parent’s parental rights is in the best interests of the child. NCGS 7B-1100s cover termination of parental rights. Based on the few facts you have shared, it doesn’t seem like they would be successful in having your rights terminated.

You should consider filing a motion to modify custody and see if the judge will award you unsupervised visitation. Our article on Changing Custody and Visitation should provide you with some guidance.