Can I force termination of someone's parently rights? 20 Answers as of June 16, 2011

My husband and I were separated for about 3 months, in which the time I got pregnant by another man. We got back together when I was around 2 months pregnant and I didn't want any more contact with the biological father. My husband was the one there throughout my pregnancy and he has been there for my son since day one and he tells everyone he is his son. When our baby was 2 weeks old the biological father had a paternity test ordered. He said he was going to take me to court for visitation but still hasn't and it's been over 2 months. Is there any way I can force him to terminate his rights so my husband can adopt my son?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Yes, there is a way, but at this point, it will take a little more effort. The fact of the matter is there are 14 grounds in which you can terminate by force. You must fit within one of those grounds. The information you have provided does not indicate you are there yet, in fact, it indicates you are not. If you want to make this happen, you have to take a few steps. You should really consult a lawyer that handles step-parent adoptions and knows how to deal with these facts.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/16/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
If he takes you to court for visitation, he will be on the hook for child support. That is a really difficult situation. There is a presumption that a child born during a marriage is born of the marriage, but if the father has DNA evidence, I am unsure of what a court will do. In theory, the court is considering the child's best interest, but those are tough facts that may never be presented to a court if the father wants to avoid support obligations. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/15/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
You can file for a TPR in probate court. The statutes are stacked against TPR (obvious reasons) but that is where you would have to go. There is an involuntary application (meaning he is against it) that you would have to file.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/14/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
It is possible to terminate parental rights. See my article on Facebook concerning this issue.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/14/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
No. But, by law if the child was born while you were married, your husband is presumed to be the father until a court rules that he is not and that the other man is. So, unless and until the other man affirmatively begins some court action, you really don't need to do anything. If and when he does file something with the court, the court will have to decide what to do.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/14/2011
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
    You can ask the bio dad to terminate his rights so your husband can take over. He may not want to since he wanted to do a DNA. You can wait and see if he does anything else or you can talk with him. What kind of force are you thinking of doing?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Palomino Law Firm, P.C.
    Palomino Law Firm, P.C. | Debra Palomino
    You can petition the court to terminate his rights only under certain circumstances, and in your case it may be after 6 months of abandonment. While your husband is legally presumed to be the father, the bio father can file a paternity action and ask for rights.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Probably not but the biological father will have to pay child support.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Komanapalli Massey LLP
    Komanapalli Massey LLP | Mark A. Massey, Esq.
    Without judging you or the situation, a man is the "presumed father"of any child conceived during his marriage to the mother. A child's presumed father is the only man with any paternal rights respecting that child. The biological father who conceived the child with you during the very brief period during which you were separated from your husband is out of luck. Even if he were able to prove that he is the bio father, that will not get him any rights to the child.The law looks a it like, that is what he gets for messing with another man's wife.This policy promotes stability in the institution of marriage and moreover, certainty and stability for the child born into the marriage. So, you should dare that dude to try. He will be sent packing by the court. He has no paternal rights whatsoever.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    In California there is a conclusive presumption of paternity that the husband is the father of the child. Your husband does not need to adopt the child as there is a presumption that he is the natural father. You should have your husband placed on the birth certificate immediately. If the biological father does take you to court, your husband and you will both need to assert that your husband is the presumed father. As this type of case can be complicated, you should immediately contact a family law attorney to protect the rights of you and your husband.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    That can be very difficult to accomplish. This is because the child has a constitutional right to a correct determination of paternity and the father has a right to have a relationship with his child. However, one tactic you might try is to ask the biological father to agree to a termination of his parental rights and a step parent adoption by your husband in exchange for your not going against the biological father for child support. Unless the father has some major "disability" this is about the only way to accomplish what you want. Such a disability might be a major problem with alcohol and drugs or a long history of committing domestic violence.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would urge you to consult with a lawyer in your community. It can be difficult to terminate parental rights in Georgia if the parent communicates with and supports the child, but see an attorney about all your rights. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    If the biological father has neither supported nor contacted his child for more than one year, his parental rights can likely be terminated in a step-parent adoption by your husband.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Assume Oregon law applies: There are several questions that must be answered in order to answer this question. First I will assume that you remained married to your husband and so this child was born during your marriage to your husband. I know this seems obvious, but it must be established clearly so I can say that as a result, your husband is the legal father of this child. There is a presumption that a child born during a marriage is a child of the marriage. This can be overcome, but until it is, the presumption remains. Whose last name is on the birth certificate? Has the alleged birth father contributed anything to the child? Has he paid any support? You case is very interesting and I hesitate to discuss potential answers until I know more because the facts may change the legal conclusion that can be drawn. Call and let my staff know you are a LawQA caller.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    You can't "force" it, you will need to file a petition with the court to get this done.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    This is a much more complicated question than it seems. In Ohio and Michigan, your husband is the putative father. It is a reputable presumption of paternity. The Bio Dad may not seek visitation, because if he does he will also be liable for child support. Sounds like he is setting you up for blackmail. A visit with a domestic relations counsel will allow you to get answers to your questions.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law, if the biological father did not sign an acknowledgment of paternity and has not had a court make a finding that he is the father, then he is not the legal father even if he is the biological father and therefore has no parental rights at this time. If that is the case, then your husband should be the legally presumed father since the child was born during the marriage, which means there is no need for an adoption. Please see an attorney in your area to review the specific facts of the case and verify the legal status of the child's paternity.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Unfortunately in Georgia the only way to have your husband adopt the child is with the consent of the biological father. You need to consult with an attorney about whether you have a case to object to a paternity/legitimation case by the father.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
    Generally, you cannot do this unless there is some reason why he should not have contact with the child.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Technically, the biological father does not have standing to assert his status as father since you were married. That said, if you submitted to a genetic test, then the court may allow him to proceed if he ever does. You can file a motion to terminate parental rights if he fails to have any contact with the child and fails to financially support him, then you can have parental rights terminated, but right now, there is no establishment of parental rights for the biological father (there is no paternity judgment). You might want to have your husband file a petition to establish a parental relationship claiming "natural" father status, which would pave the way for an adoption, I believe (you'd need to check with an adoption attorney on that portion). If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
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