Can I terminate the parental rights of my child's father? 43 Answers as of July 02, 2013

Can I terminate parental rights of my kids father if he hasn't been around in over 4 years and has recently appeared and contacted one of the kids without me knowing. I have had the same contact information for the last 6 years and he has not contacted me. My kids have been through a lot because of him leaving and I don't want him in their life. My husband of 7 years wants to adopt them since he has raised them most of their lives.

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Doi/Luke, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
Doi/Luke, Attorneys at Law, LLLC | Gavin K. Doi
If your husband is willing to adopt your children, this may be possible. An adoption would install your husband as the new father and terminate the biological father's rights. If the biological father consents to the adoption, this can be a smooth process. If the biological father objects however, this will be a contested adoption, and things can get much stickier. Often times, if the biological father was previously ordered to pay child support and has thus accumulated a large amount of delinquent support, they may be amenable to the adoption in exchange for clearing some/all of the delinquency.
Answer Applies to: Hawaii
Replied: 4/10/2012
Snake River Law PLLC
Snake River Law PLLC | Mark Petersen
Yes you have an opportunity to terminate the biological father's parental rights. I recommend that you contact a local family law/adoption attorney to review your entire case with him/her. The failure of the biological father to maintain a normal parent child relationship for one year or more or his failure to provide support for the children are grounds to terminate his parental rights. Where you are remarried and your current spouse is willing to adopt the children, there is a probability that the court would grant the termination and adoption unless the biological father has maintained a normal parent child relationship.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 4/5/2012
The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier
The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier | Seth D. Schraier
Possibly. According to Social Services Law 384-b(5)(a), a child is deemed "abandoned" by his parent if during the 6 month period prior to the filing of the petition "such parent evinces an intent to forego his or her parental rights and obligations as manifested by his or her failure to visit the child and communicate with the child. Some courts have held that a single evidence of parental interest such as a letter or phone call from a parent during the relevant six month period would preclude a judicial finding of abandonment. So, a court could find that the contact during a 6 month period prior to filing a petition precludes a finding of abandonment. On the other hand, termination of parental rights on the grounds of abandonment has been found even when there has been an occasional communication with the child during the six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition. In order to prevail in an abandonment termination, it must be shown that the parent failed to visit or communicate with the child "although able to do so." The fact that your contact information has remained the same strongly supports this.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/3/2012
The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
No. The only way to terminate a parents rights is to have someone adopt your child with the biological Father's consent.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/2/2012
Attorney & Counselor at Law
Attorney & Counselor at Law | John Hugger
Not without a Court order. Consult with an attorney IMMEDIATELY!
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 4/2/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Step-parent adoption is great. You have to start the adoption process but you should have done it before bio-dad showed up. There are options, I can't discuss here, but suffice it to say, if bio-dad is not paying child support the last four years, then your case is much better. Can you force terminate - he is attempting to re-establish contact, so the abandonment is no longer an option. But there may be other grounds, we would have to look at the facts. This is a case where you would be doing yourself a huge favor to set an appointment, pay for a consult and get very specific advise.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 4/2/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    In a step-parent adoption by your husband, under the circustances that you relate, the parental rights of the biological father can be terminated if the father has neither contacted nor supported the children for at least the last year. Both conditions are required, unless the biological father consents to the adoption.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/2/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    There are only very limited grounds to terminate parental rights. You will have to file a Petition to terminate and if successful then your husband can do a step-parent adoption. If the biological father will agree you could do a step-parent adoption.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 4/2/2012
    Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
    Hire a lawyer to have your new husband adopt the children
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    Law Office of Lynda H. LeBlanc | Lynda Leblanc
    Talk to a local attorney about step-parent adoption and do it right away. This is the only way you can terminate his rights, and him coming back in the picture now complicates things.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    You may be able to terminate but his recent contact with one of the kids is a complication. Generally not having any meaningful contact for at least 1 year is considered abandonment and is a grounds for termination, but these can be tricky situations and it is important that you have an attorney to help you with the process.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    In order to terminate the rights of a parent you must prove to the Court that the parent has failed to support and maintain the child and it is in the best interest of the child to be adopted.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Not unless you are remarried and your husband is attempting to adopt the child. Termination in connection with the adoption will result either from father's consent or from a judicial finding of nonsupport and/or abandonment. You should consut an attorney to learn more about your options.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    Weinpel Law Office, P.C. | Marc Weinpel
    It depends on more facts. Has he supported the children in the last 4 years? If you have grounds, no contact, no support, etc. you can file a Petition for Termination and Adoption which accomplishes both.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    The way to terminate parental rights is through the adoption of the children by your husband. Please see a domestic relations attorney to discuss how that will help you.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    If he has not paid child support during this period.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    Attorney at Law | Steven E. Ferguson
    The father's failure to provide child support as ordered by a court, or commensurate with his income if no order exists, or a failure to maintain a relationship with the child can both be grounds to allow a step-parent to adopt the child, provided that the non-support or lack of a relationship has occurred for twelve of the past fourteen consecutive months.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 3/30/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You can file a motion to terminate his parental rights. The court will have to conduct an investigation to determine whether it is in the children's best interest to terminate the parental rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Law Office of Joan M. Canavan | Joan Canavan
    You can file a Petiton to Terminate Father's Parental Rights on the grounds that he is an unfit parent. It is a large hurdle to overcome, but considering the circumstances and that he has not been in their life for 4 years and has contacted them without notifying you may be enough to establish that his rights should be terminated. Other factors that may support your case are if your children had difficulty when he left and have been adversely affected since he has contacted them recently.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Milek Law Firm
    Milek Law Firm | Mary Elizabeth Milek
    The termination would need to be done in conjunction with the adoption. Only a judge can terminate the rights of the father. Also, a Guardian ad Litem will need to be appointed to make sure this is in the best interest of your children. It sounds as if you have a good case for abandonment, but his recent appearance makes your timing look suspect.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    You can not decide that a parent is not longer a parent because he has not contacted his /her children for a while. If you want to manage contact with the other parent, I suggest that you file a motion with the court to establish a parenting schedule.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    You might consider a step parent adoption and for the bio father to sign a consent to the adoption.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    Go to court and seek the relief you seek.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    Yes, but the father must be notified and given a chance to object to the adoption. The father needs to be made a party to any suit.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Law Office of Alan J. Pransky | Alan J. Pransky
    You can file an adoption action which, if allowed, will terminate his parental rights. However,if he opposes the adoption, the court may not allow it.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation | Elizabeth Jones
    You can file for a Step Parent Adoption and termination of the bio dad's parental rights based on abandonment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr.
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr. | John F. Geraghty, Jr.
    Well you can make a motion for child support but it is not that easy to terminate parents rights. There is a very high standard of proof that it would be in the best interest of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Thomas P. Carnes, Attorney & Mediator | Thomas P. Carnes
    It sounds as if you have statutory grounds for abandonment. If the court finds abandonment it can terminate if it determines that termination is in the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Pingelton Law Firm | Dan Pingelton
    You can in connection with a step-parent adoption. You can do it by consent or as an adversarial process alleging abandonment. You'll need a lawyer for this.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Law Office of Robert D. Rosanelli
    Law Office of Robert D. Rosanelli | Robert D. Rosanelli
    A parent may attempt to terminate the other parent's rights by filing a Petition for Termination in the juvenile court in the county in which you and the children reside. One of the grounds for termination is the ground of "abandonment." Abandonment is defined as the failure to maintain a normal parental relationship, without just cause, for a period of at least six months. Sporadic contact with one's children does not constitute a normal parental relationship. Also, a termination must be in the children's "best interests." If your current spouse wishes to adopt, the "best interests" requirement would be satisfied. Any child age 12 or older must consent to his or her adoption. I encourage you to consider filing to terminate without delay.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    Your husband can file a petition to adopt the children. If the father will not sign a consent to the adoption, you can have the court terminate his parental rights if he has not paid support or communicated with the children for 6 months or longer.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    I really enjoy doing adoptions.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/2/2013
    Hynum Law Office, LLC
    Hynum Law Office, LLC | G. Wayne Hynum
    You can petition the Chancery Court to terminate his parental rights. If he has not had anything to do with the children in several years, and he has not been paying child support, there is a good chance the Court would terminate his parental rights which would enable your current husband to adopt them.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    There is a possibility to have a biological parents rights regarding their child or children extinguished. This can be done voluntarily in a case such as you outline where another party is willing to adopt a child or children, and it is also possible in certain circumstances where the biological parent has effectively abandoned the children and, therefore after a court hearing, his or her rights.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    You can proceed with a step parent adoption and the court will certainly take into account the lack of contact with the children. You should discuss all of facts of your situation with a family law attorney to determine how best to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    PALMER | GEORGE, PLLC
    PALMER | GEORGE, PLLC | Brandie J. Rouse
    Stepparent adoption is quite common. There is plenty of paperwork to be completed, filed and served. The process does take time, and the biological father's right are simultaneousy terminated.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A Termination of Parental rights is a complicated proceeding. Courts are extremely reluctant to terminate a parent's rights because it is a fundamental right. However, one of the basis for a termination is abandonment of the child physically and/or financially. In a situation such as the one you describe, it may be possible to simply seek an agreement related to a termination of parental rights and step parent adoption. The process can be completed in one step and a minimal cost. When parental rights are terminated, any ongoing obligation of child support also ceases. You should have your case reviewed by an attorney who can assist you in preparing and serving the Summons and Petition for a Termination of Parental Rights.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    You can request an order from the court for sole legal and physical custody of your children, including limitations on how and when your children have contact with their biological father. Best to hire a local family law lawyer to help you. If you can't afford a lawyer, you can seek free assistance from the Family Law Facilitator's Office from your local county family court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Michael S. Edwards, Attorney at Law, PLLC | Mike Edwards
    Your current husband can adopt the children, if your ex's parental rights are terminated. It would be simplest and cheapest if he would agree to relinquish or give-up his parental rights. You should talk to a competent adoption attorney, to pursue your options in this case.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    If your husband seeks to adopt, the birth father will be given notice and an opportunity to consent or to oppose. You should contact an attorney in the county in which you reside who specializes in adoptions to obtain additional information about that process.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/29/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You can attempt a step parent adoption. Usually the minimum is six years of no contact, no support from the biological father.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/29/2012
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