Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
“Is it possible in Missouri or Illinois for me to adopt my girlfriend’s 16 month old daughter when her biological father has been out of her life for over a year with no contact? His name isn’t even on the birth certificate. I have been supporting her for the last year and wouldn’t change a bit of it. I am the only dad she has known and I love and treat her like she is my own! Not to mention he used to abuse my girlfriend all the time. We just know he won’t sign the papers over.”
The Court will not typically terminate parental rights without the consent of that parent, no matter how inactive that parent has been. The biological father must agree to terminate his rights. The exception to this general rule is that if the custody parent is remarrying, the new spouse wishes to adopt the child, AND if the biological father agrees to the adoption, then the Court may terminate the biological parent’s rights to allow the adoption to proceed.