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In re Adoption of B.M.W.

Supreme Court of Kansas
2 P.3d 159 (Kan. 2000)


A trial court granted the divorce of B.M.W.’s mother and father, awarded joint legal custody of B.M.W. to both the mother and father, and ordered the father to pay monthly child support. The mother had primary physical custody, while the father had liberal and reasonable visitation. The mother later married B.M.W.’s stepfather. The father consistently failed to pay child support and was subsequently found to be in contempt by the family court. The father’s jail sentence was suspended on the condition that the father make future child-support payments. Thereafter, the father made only sporadic child-support payments. The stepfather filed a petition to adopt B.M.W. At a hearing on the adoption, the stepfather argued that the father had failed to pay a substantial portion of child support for the care of B.M.W. and had knowingly failed or refused to assume parental duties for a period of two years preceding the filing of the adoption petition. The family court found that the father had paid 86 percent of the child support owed during the two years prior to the filing of the petition. Additionally, the family court found that, even though the father had failed to provide affection and care to B.M.W. and only paid a portion of the court-ordered child support, the father’s consent was required before the stepfather could adopt B.M.W. The family court denied the petition, and the stepfather appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lockett, J.)

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