A Nebraska stepparent adoption usually requires the absent biological parent’s agreement before it can be completed. However, oftentimes, their agreement may not be required depending on several factors such as the type of relationship he/she had with the custodial biological parent, and the type of relationship he/she has with the child.
Understanding these factors brings a lot of clarity to whether you will need the other parent’s agreement or not for the stepparent adoption to move forward.
Here are three different scenarios to help you understand whether the absent parent’s agreement will be needed for your stepparent adoption.
SCENARIO 1: The biological father is not listed on the child’s birth certificate
The biological father of the child is not listed on the child’s birth certificate and has not made any real effort to have a relationship with the child. The biological mom is now married and looking into stepparent adoption.
In this example, since the absent biological parent (the father) is not listed on the birth certificate, Nebraska law affords him the least amount of protection. He must be notified of the adoption, but he must respond within 5 business days of receiving the notice of adoption.
The law requires that the absent parent responds in writing to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services within that five business day period and make known his intentions regarding the child; i.e., whether he opposes the adoption, or agrees to it.
If he does not respond, the law no longer recognizes his rights, and the stepparent adoption can move forward without his agreement. This is true even if he changes his mind later and decides to fight the stepparent adoption.
SCENARIO 2: The biological father is listed on the birth certificate and there is a current child support order.
The biological father is listed on the child’s birth certificate. He may have had sporadic contact with the child when the child was younger, but has had no contact with the child for the last few years. The biological mother applied for Medicaid, and as a result, the State of Nebraska filed a child support case against the biological father. She is now married and looking into stepparent adoption.
In this example, since the absent biological parent is listed on the child’s birth certificate and there is a child support case that has been filed against him, Nebraska law affords more protection than the biological father in scenario 1.
Typically, in a child support case, a paternity test is completed to ensure that the person is in fact the biological father. Once paternity is established, the biological father is recognized as an “adjudicated” father. This simply means that the court has stated in a court order that he is in fact the child’s biological father. This is why he is afforded more protection that the father in scenario 1.
He must be notified of the stepparent adoption and must also agree to it unless it can be proven that he has abandoned the child for the past 6 months from the day the adoption papers are filed with the court.
SCENARIO 3: The biological father was married to the biological mother
The biological father and mother of the child were married. They divorced and the mother is remarried. Her husband wants to adopt the child.
In this example, the biological father is afforded the most protection by Nebraska law because the child was born during his marriage to the biological mother. He must be notified of the stepparent adoption and must agree to it unless it can be proven that he has abandoned the child for the past 6 months from the day the adoption papers are filed with the court.
In The End
Knowing how the law treats absent biological fathers’ rights in a Nebraska stepparent adoption can help you determine if his agreement will be required or not.