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I'm doing research for a fictional story I'm writing.  Here's the deal:  It takes place in Maine.  Malcolm is married to Gerri, who had a son (Felix) from a previous relationship.  One day Gerri abandons Malcolm and Felix.  Since Malcolm never legally adopted Felix, can he adopt the boy while filing for divorce from Gerri?  Or at least apply for permanent custody?  


Any advice will be greatly appreciated.  

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It's fiction. Write it however you want. You get to make up the laws.


However, if you want this to be realistic there are a few factors to consider:


1 - How old is Felix?

2 - How long were Malcolm and Gerri married?

3 - How long did they know each other before they were married?

4 - How long has Gerri been gone?

5 - Is her location known or unknown?

6 - What efforts has Malcolm made to find her?

7 - Are Gerri's parents extant?

8 - Does she have adult siblings?

9 - Any domestic abuse or violence going on?

10 - Any police reports ever made?



I'm sure I can think of more if I sat here long enough (don't want to).


While you are thinking about all that, work the Maine adoption statutes into your story:




Oh, one more thing. If you set this someplace in Maine where weird things happen you can add a supernatural touch to it:











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I am also an author and did some research a year or so ago about Maine adoption laws, although a different situation. Message me if you want me to go back and find my research notes - in my case it was a birth mother who changed her mind about the adoption, so I may not have anything applicable. But I'll look if you want me to.

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The adoption will require notice to both the father and the mother.  The court would also have to terminate the parental rights of both parents.  It is exceptionally hard for a person who is not actually related to the child, such as a step-parent, to adopt a child without the consent of both parents.

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