Washburn Law Journal
This article describes the court case in which the Kansas Supreme Court addresses the stepparent adoption provision of the Kansas Adoption and Relinquishment Act. The court for this case held that the statute will be strictly interpreted in favor of the birth father who was in danger of having his parental rights forfeited when the issue was whether he failed or refused to fulfill his parental obligations. The court for this case reversed the district court order granting the adoption by the stepfather. The court granted significant protection in the stepparent adoption to the father who allegedly failed to offer support even in the situation where granting the adoption would clearly have been in the best interests of the children. The court found that the mother and stepfather provided the children with everything they needed. The court reiterated that the best interests of the children was not the appropriate criteria in determining whether the adoption should be allowed. The primary issue in this case was whether the objecting parent to a stepparent adoption must be capable of paying child support in order for the statutory presumption of parental failure to apply. The court in this case held that the language of the statute compels it to factor in the father's 7 months of incarceration as a reason why he was unable to provide the court ordered child support. Numerous references.
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