LEGAL BRIEFING - Follow steps for adoption


Dear John, My ex-husband and I got a divorce two years ago. Since then, he has not paid child support or visited our son, JJ, now age 4.

I have no idea where he is or how to find him. A year ago, I began dating, and am now engaged to Mike. He is a wonderful man and loves JJ and me with all of his heart. Mike wants to adopt JJ.

How do we do that?


Found Mike Knight in Shining Armor.

I am happy you found someone to share your life. Before Mike can adopt JJ, your ex-husband's parental rights must be ended. The court can end parental rights under the adoption statute, but only if the rights are being given to another person.

You cannot be the other person. Mike can.

Mike can ask the court for permission to adopt JJ after you and Mike are married. The court will have a hearing on the request.

You and Mike will need to try to notify your ex-husband about the hearing. If you are not able to find your ex, the court may allow you to notify him by sending a letter to his last known address both by first-class and registered mail, and by publication in the newspaper.



John Hartzell is a practicing Walla Walla attorney. No attorney-client relationship is established via this column, which is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Any information given is to illustrate basic legal concepts and does not state how any court would decide any matter. Have a question? Ask John at


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