Mother’s consent to adoption not required

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision by the Wabash Circuit Court to deny a father and his wife’s petition to allow his wife to adopt his minor child, finding the biological mother’s consent is not required.

K.S.’s father D.S. and stepmother A.S. filed a verified petition for adoption and affidavit and request to terminate mother C.Z.’s parental rights to K.S. The couple requested the trial court waive C.Z.’s consent to the adoption pursuant to I.C. 31-19-9-8. C.Z. had sporadic visitation with K.S. and was in arrears of more than $10,000 in child support to D.S. C.Z. was employed for most of 2010, but was unable to work from November 2010 until September 2011 due to complications from a pregnancy. She then quit her job a month after returning to it in September 2011 to stay at home with her two younger children.

Wabash Circuit Judge Robert R. McCallen III ruled D.S. and A.S. failed to prove that C.Z.’s consent isn’t required.

The judges found in Adoption of K.S., A Minor Child: A.S. and D.S. v. C.Z., 85A04-1205-AD-243, that C.Z. willfully failed to pay support for more than one year and ordered the trial court determine whether the adoption is in K.S.’s best interest. The trial court only focused on the statutory requirements to waive C.Z.’s consent to the adoption of K.S. by her stepmother, and the parties did not present any evidence with regard to the impact of the adoption on K.S.’s life.  


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