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Judges deny stepfather’s request to adopt children

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A mother’s deliberate decision to thwart the attempts of her ex-husband to communicate with their two small children supports the trial court’s decision to deny her current husband’s attempt to adopt the children, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Tuesday.

The Court of Appeals dealt with D.D. v. D.P., 49A02-1311-DR-1004, for the third time, with the issue before them whether the trial court erred in denying stepfather D.D.’s petition to adopt his wife’s children she had with D.P.

K.D. and D.P. divorced in 2004 when their two children were under the age of 2. Father moved to the Washington, D.C., area for work, but wanted to continue parenting time. Mother, however, only responded to five of the more than 60 emails he sent and asked him to either terminate his parental rights or allow her husband, D.D., whom she married in 2007, to adopt the children.  

The adoption was granted in 2010 but vacated because D.P. wasn’t served notice of the proceedings.

D.D. argued that D.P. hasn’t communicated with his children in nearly five years, so that justifies granting the adoption. He also claimed that D.P. could have directly contacted the children, but did not. But the trial court found that K.D. purposefully kept D.P. out of the children’s lives, despite his requests to exercise parenting time.

“In light of these facts, Father sought to establish contact in a manner that would gain Mother’s Approval and minimize any negative impact on the children, who were very young when Mother and Father dissolved their marriage. We would think that under these circumstances, Mother, or any parent, would prefer that Father contact her regarding communications to determine how to proceed in the best interests of the children. Accordingly, under these circumstances, Father demonstrated justifiable cause for not initiating direct communication with the children,” Judge John Baker wrote.


 

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