FAQs by Step Parents

1. If there is no father on the birth certificate is it necessary to give the father of the child notice?
Yes.  Even though no one is listed as the father on a birth certificate, the father of the child must be given notice of termination of parental rights.  At times the father is unknown.  In those cases, the birth mother provides a declaration to the Court which explains that the name and whereabouts of the birth father is unknown. Notice is then published in a newspaper to John Doe.  If the birth father is known but his whereabouts are unknown after a diligent search, notice may be given to the birth father in a newspaper with general circulation in the city of the father's last known address. If the father is available to contact, he may sign a consent and voluntarily relinquish rights. If he refuses to sign a consent, he can be served with a petition to terminate his parental rights..

2. Can the child's name be changed as part of the adoption process?
Yes.  At the time the adoption is finalized the child's name can be changed.  A new birth certificate is issued reflecting the child's new name. The original birth certificate is sealed.

3. What is a post placement report?
In a private adoption, a person or couple hoping to adopt must complete a pre-placement report ( sometimes referred to as a home study) prior to being considered as prospective adoptive parents.  A post placement report is completed after the baby has been placed in the adoptive home. In a step parent adoption where the couple has been married at least one year the pre-placement report is not required.  The step parent may adopt after completing the post placement report.

4. If the birth father has not had contact with the child for several years can the court automatically terminate parental rights for abandonment?

  • Washington:
    In Washington the answer is no.  The birth father must still be given notice and rights must be terminated either through a voluntary relinquishment or involuntary termination of parental rights.
  • Idaho:
    Idaho is a registry state.  If a birth father fails to register with the Putative Father registry and is a resident of the state of Idaho, he is not considered to be a father and his consent is not necessary.  His rights are in effect terminated.

5. Can the birth father's rights be terminated even though there is noone to adopt?
No.  There must be someone to take the place of the terminated birth parent.  Rights cannot be terminated unless there is a person willing and qualified to adopt.

6. Is the birth father responsible for back child support after parental rights have been terminated?
Yes.  Child support is no longer owed by the birth father after his rights have been terminated but back child support is still due.  Sometimes the adoptive parents waives the back child support owed by the birth father but it is not necessary to do so.

Free Consultation:
Mark Iverson and his staff are available to answer questions at no charge.  Contact us at 509-462-3678 or 800-338-8273 or via email at mark@adoptionlegalservices.org

Contact Us

Mark R. Iverson, P.S.

921 West Broadway, Suite 305
Spokane, Washington 99201
Phone: (509) 462-3678
Toll Free: 1-800-338-8273
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Coeur d'Alene Office

2448 Merritt Creek Loop
CDA ID 83814
Phone: (208) 930-0369
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