In almost every stepparent adoption case where the absent biological parent refuses to agree to the adoption and it can be proven that he/she has legally abandoned the minor child, a guardian ad litem will be appointed.
What is a guardian ad litem?
A guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the judge presiding over the stepparent adoption case.
What is the guardian ad litem's role?
The guardian ad litem is appointed to investigate the abandonment allegations and write a report to the judge regarding his/her findings. If the guardian ad litem finds that the absent parent has indeed legally abandoned the minor child, he/she will then consent to the stepparent adoption on behalf of the absent parent. Their consent substitutes the absent parent's consent to the adoption.
The guardian ad litem will also meet with you and ask you questions regarding the absent parent and your current family situation. He will meet with the minor child as well in an effort to give the judge a comprehensive report of your family, the abandonment allegations and what his opinions are regarding the adoption.
Is there a fee paid to the guardian ad litem?
Yes, a fee is paid to the guardian ad litem. Typically, a deposit must be paid to the courthouse towards the guardian ad litem's fees before they start their investigation. The fee typically starts at $250 and goes up from there.
If you are in a situation where the absent biological parent is refusing to agree to the adoption and has legally abandoned your child, a guardian ad litem will likely be a part of your stepparent adoption process.