When a single parent remarries in Ohio, it may follow that the new spouse will seek to adopt the child, especially when the other biological parent falls short of the obligation to pay child support. Still, since the adoption would mean a loss of legal rights as a parent, even a minimal effort to keep in contact and support the child might be enough to protest the adoption.

The right to withhold consent for adoption was brought to an Ohio Supreme Court ruling at the end of February, according to WCPO.com. The father argued that his attempts to pay child support, even though a mere fraction of the ordered amount, demonstrated his desire to keep his parental rights. He believed he was justified in denying consent for his child’s adoption by his ex-wife’s new husband.

After the parents divorced, the father relocated overseas, and the mother remarried. Her new husband then sought to adopt the child and remove the biological father’s legal relationship. It is unknown if the new husband had a better means of supporting the child; nonetheless, he contended that the biological father’s failure to adhere to the full payment requirements was sufficient grounds to block the adoption protest. The Supreme Court ruled that because the biological father did not adequately provide financial support for his child, his ex-wife’s new husband did not need his consent to adopt.

After a divorce, it is only natural that both parties desire to either move on or retain as many parental rights as possible. When stepparents and trouble paying child support enter the debate, the issue of where one parent’s rights stop and the other’s begin can become very ambiguous. Single parents mired in this debate might consider speaking to a family lawyer to determine how to proceed.