A hypothetical based on a conversation I had with a friend who has a relative in a really nasty custody battle similar to the one described below:
Hypothetica had a child, Little Susie, with a guy we’ll call B.D. (for Baby Daddy). B.D.'s not an absolutely evil sort- no serious trouble with the law or anything- but he’s basically a self centered immature fratboy who ran off not long after Hypothetica gave birth and always liked the concept of having a kid better than having a kid. He sent presents and occasional support (nothing reliable) but was never really there for the kid in any regular manner.
Years pass, Little Susie is a few years old, and B.D. has had almost no contact for a couple of years. Part of this is due to Hypothetica not wanting him to, part because he’s still a self centered immature fratboy douche. Hypothetica meets and marries a guy we’ll call Mr. Right who loves Little Susie and wants to adopt her.
Meanwhile, B.D., who’s now through college and making good money and marginally more mature but no less self centered, has decided he now wants a relationship with Little Susie. He’s even willing to pay back child support and the like, and he wants to be a part of her life. Hypothetica doesn’t want him to because he’s never been that interested before, Little Susie has bonded with Mr. Right, and she knows that while B.D. might really and truly be repentant and sincere in wanting to be a dad this week she also knows that this could all change next week when he decides he wants to be a professional golfer or knocks up a lap dancer he just started dating and decides that kid will do; he’s the type who’ll probably always miss birthdays and planned visitations and then try to make up for it with a 7 foot tall stuffed Snoopy at Christmas and by putting Little Susie’s picture everywhere in his house (though don’t ask him to name her schoolteacher or any of her favorite books or cartoons).
Also the chance B.D. has really turned over a new leaf and really wants to make up for lost time, but the chances aren’t very good. B.D.'s a self deceiving bullshit artist after all. However, he has nothing like felonies or anything that would make him a demonstrably terrible person other than periods of deadbeat dadness which he’s willing to make right financially.
So the question: is it possible that Hypothetica and Mr. Right could legally force B.D. to relinquish his paternal rights? I’m not asking about could they stop him from having any sort of custody and I’m not asking about the ethics of either side, but can somebody who doesn’t have a criminal past be forced to allow somebody else to adopt his (or her) child?
No medication is wagered on this, I’m just curious.