How can I terminate parental rights and set up for an adoption? 58 Answers as of August 13, 2012

my child is now 2years and 3 moths old. His biological father has not seen him since he was 2 months old. a year ago the state forced my to put my ex's name on the birth certificate so they could collect child suport becuse i was getting state assistance for child care. I am getting married in october to my fiance who i have been with for close to 2 years. my child calls him "dad" and does not know his biological father at all. I have both physical and sole desition making because a) my son biological father has abandoned him since birth b) has drug/alcohol probems (which is addressed in our parenting plan) and c) because there is no relationship between them. At what point is it safe to try and terminate parental rights so my fiance can adopt?

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John Russo | John Russo
If you are in RI and everything you have claimed is factual there is a statute you can file under if your child has been abandoned by their father or mother, i.e. failure to support and failure to have contact for at least 6 months. Now you have to prove these allegations by clear and convincing evidence at a hearing, and the most important part you have to have someone who is fit, ready to adopt, and they must petition the court to do so.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/13/2012
THE LOCKHART LAW FIRM | CLAYTON LOCKHART
Although there is no guarantee here, I would say that you are in a much better situation than most people that have come to me wanting to strip a parent of their parental rights. I would say allow the marriage to grow for at least one (1) year and if after one yer your husband and child still have the same kind of relationship, then have your husband file for the adoption and let things proceed from there. There is no need to file for termination of parental rights and then file for an adoption since filing for the adoption would accomplish the termination of parental rights if the judge grants the adoption petition.
Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 7/27/2012
NOLAN LAW LLC | Joshua J. Nolan
Although it is not legally required, I would suggest that you wait until you have been married for some time (1 - 2 years) before beginning the adoption process. This will help demonstrate the stability of your marriage. However, the timing of your action will be less important than the reaction of your child's biological father. In the absence of some type of abuse or neglect, it is exceedingly difficult to terminate someone's parental rights. The easiest way for your fiance to adopt your child would be for the biological father to agree to surrender his rights. If he refuses, then you could face a lengthy and expensive battle.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 7/26/2012
Law Office of James Bordonaro
Law Office of James Bordonaro | James Albert Bordonaro
Yes, Kansas law says that a termination is appropriate if the father has had minimal contact with the child in the last 2 years so you are now able to begin the termination of the biological father's rights. This can be done before your marriage. However, I would recommend waiting until you are married in October for the adoption to take place but that should be very simple if the termination is completed by that time.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 7/24/2012
Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
After you have been married six months your husband may adopt your child.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/26/2012
    Law Office of Robert D. Rosanelli
    Law Office of Robert D. Rosanelli | Robert D. Rosanelli
    You may file a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights in the Juvenile Court, based upon abandonment. Once you terminate his rights, you can proceed with the adoption (if you two get married, and not before).
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/26/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    What you describe is the perfect setup for a Step-Parent adoption. Bio Dad does have to be notified and served. He can be terminated by force on abandonment, endangering the child is a stretch since he does not participate or exercise visitation. Note, the best way to do this is to send him a letter, do not tell him your fiance intends to adopt, just tell him that if he will terminate (sign a voluntary relinquishment) it will stop his child support. See if bio dad agrees. If so, this is all simple - time consuming and paperwork intensive, but simple as family law cases go. You want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible, but do not file the Petition until after the marriage so that it will be a Step-parent adoption. If you are in Collin County, let me know, I would love to help. Otherwise, contact a few lawyers, get one you have a warm fuzzy feel for, and pay him/her to start the process.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/25/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    In Colorado you can initiate a termination of the father's rights ONLY as a part of a step-parent adoption. Once you have been married for at least a year, your new husband pay petition to adopt the child, with your consent. The father's consent will be required unless he has failed, without just cause, to pay child support for the 12 months preceding the step-parent's petition OR if he has abandoned the child. Abandonment is a question of fact to be decided by the court. The one year of marriage is a general policy rule of most Colorado Courts, not a statutory requirement. So, the fact that you have been together for 2 years will probably convince a judge that your "new" family is sufficiently stable to support the step-parent adoption. You should consult an attorney for specific advice based on the facts in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/25/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Your fiance can file a petition to adopt your son. The ex has abandoned the child, and the adoption will be fairly simple.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/24/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    The process of adoption will terminate the parental rights, so if you feel that you are ready to have your finance adopt your child, and you think that it's in the child's best interest for that to happen, then file for a step-parent adoption (after you get married) and that will take care of it.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/24/2012
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    I guess it depends on what you mean by "safe". The adoption process requires you to either notify the biological father or attempt to notify the biological father of the pending adoption. If the bio dad agrees to the adoption, or if the court decides the adoption is in the best interest of your son, it will proceed with the adoption and your son's father's rights and obligations will be terminated. Please note, that if the rights are terminated, so is the child support obligation. Please discuss these issues with a lawyer who practices family law. He or she can get you through this.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/23/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    The child may not be adopted unless the father of the child give up his parental rights or unless a court terminate his rights. Based on what you have stated, I would suggest you consult with an attorney on the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/23/2012
    Kevin Bessant
    Kevin Bessant | Kevin Bessant
    Attempting to terminate the parental rights of the biological father will be difficult because the law recognizes parental rights to be a fundamental right, which means that the court will have a high burden to prove that the father is "not fit" to parent the child. In family court (circuit court family division), you will have to file a motion to modify custody in which you must list all the reasons you feel the biological father is unfit to be a parent with a request that his parental rights be terminated. This will often involve Child Protective Services performing its own evaluation of the father and will report its independent findings to the court. The father failure to be an active part of the child's life is generally not a legal substantial basis for his parental rights to be terminated. I would advise you to consult a family attorney in your area for more specifics on how to start this process, and to assist you and your future husband in the adoption process.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/23/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    You will have to file a petition to free him from parental control when you file for step-parent adoption. Probably at least 1 year after marriage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2012
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Once you get married, your new husband can file a petition for adoption. You might not need the bio father's consent, but he will have to be served with the adoption petition.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/23/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Contact the biological father and ask him if he would consent to an adoption. Advise him that once your child is adopted by his stepfather, the biological father's obligation to pay Child Support will terminate as to any and all future Child Support payments. The requirement to terminate a father's parental rights without his consent is that he has NEITHER supported nor contacted his child for over one year. If the bioligical father is repaying state assistance, that might possibly impede your husband's ability to get the biological father's parental rights terminated, a requirement for your husband to adopt your child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2012
    Law Offices of Maryanne Spryszak-Hanna PC | Maryanne Spryszak-Hanna
    First ask if he will volutarily give up parental rights to the child. If he is, that is fairly easy. If not, if he has failed to pay childsupport, failed to visit and will be incarcerated for at least two years, you have a fairly good shot at terminating his parental rights, but no guarantees.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    You can file a petition to terminate based on the abandonment- the problem that could arise is IF the father is paying child support- Generally after 1 year of no contact whatsoever, it is considered abandonment, but if he is paying support it could be a problem. You need to see an attorney for assistance- given the facts you have a pretty good chance of getting the termination, but you should have an attorney assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
    You don't say whether he pays support, but if he has no relationship with the child, he will probably agree to allow the adoption. You should file the termination and adoption papers at the same time, but there is an investigation that takes place by the courts. The costs are not cheap, and it is not a real short process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Weinpel Law Office, P.C. | Marc Weinpel
    You can and probably should wait until your marriage. After your marriage you can do a "termination and adoption" in one proceeding which, if your facts are accurate, should be granted by the Court. As long as there is an adoption, the State of Idaho will not object to the termination.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Gregory C. Graf
    Gregory C. Graf | Gregory C. Graf
    I suggest you first try to get your ex to voluntarily surrender his parenting rights for the adoption. The selling point being he is off the hook for child support once the child is adopted. If he is not amenable to relinquishing his rights, have an attorney file a motion to terminate those rights. Sounds like you have a good case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Law Office of Bernal Peter Ojeda | Bernal Peter Ojeda
    You need to be married first for your fiance to adopt. The fact real dad has not seen the child for over a year is a basis for termination. Failure to support is another basis but if there is a support order through the County then that issue is moot.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Law Office of Charles M. Vacca Jr. | Charles Martin Vacca Jr.
    You can only terminate parental rights for cause (usually done through state agency). May be done also with consent of the parent at issue.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    Once you are married and you husband has lived with you and the child for 6 months, your husband can file a Petition for Intrafamily Adoption (step parent adoption). The father can agree to the adoption which would terminate his child support obligation (major incentive) and sign a consent which would terminate his parental rights. Should he refuse to do so, you may still proceed with the adoption and request that the court involuntarily terminate his parental rights. A trial would be had and you would have to prove that the father has not seen, visited or communicated with the child for 6 months or longer.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    If he has failed to communicate or pay child support for a year.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    If he is paying child support, he has to agree to sign off on his parental rights, but termination of his rights will not end his obligation to pay child support according the Michigan Supreme Court.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    Where there has been no contact between the parent and the child, the court will consider terminating the parental rights and allow the step parent adoption. You should consult a family law attorney knowledgeable in step parent adoptions and review all of the facts to determine how best to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Tilton Law Firm | Bradley W. Tilton II
    If the father is willing to sign a termination affidavit you can adopt then. You can file a termination and adoption, depending on what the father has or has not done, you can attempt to terminate his rights and have your fiance adopt.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Lombardi Law LLC
    Lombardi Law LLC | SUZANNE LOMBARDI
    In Alaska the best time to try for an adoption is after there has been no communication or child support for over a year. If that is so then you can do a step-parent adoption and have the father's rights terminated. An attorney can help you with all the details and the law.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    That would be 5-6 years.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Christensen Corbett & Pankratz
    Christensen Corbett & Pankratz | Craig L. Pankratz
    You will need to file a petition to terminate the biological father's parental rights in juvenile court. Based on the information that you've provided, it appears that you have a very good case with a substantial likelihood of success.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar | Mandy J. McKellar
    In Nevada you can file for termination and adoption at the same time and within the same document. In your case it would appear that you would have a valid claim for both of these so now it is just down to filing the appropriate paperwork. I would certainly wait until such time as you are married, this could make your case a bit stronger. Our office offers free consultations and due to the situation you are in, I would not recommend moving forward without legal counsel. If you are located in Nevada and are experiencing financial hardship, the best route to go is to contact the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    Your best approach is to start an adoption once you marry your fiance and have your child declared free of the custody and control of your "ex"; That can be done as a prelude to the adoption proceedings and the courts are much more likely to grant the request to declare the child free of your ex if there is someone new to step in to support the child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    As soon as you are married file to terminate the parental rights and put on the evidence of the abandonment, also, you might ask the "father" if he would agree to terminate and let your new husband adopt as a step-parent adoption and that would be even easier, plus it would stop his child support obligation (which is the main reason he might consent).
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The simplest way to proceed is by an agreement with the biological father to terminate parental rights and allow a step parent adoption to proceed. In many states, once parental rights are terminated any ongoing obligation for child support is also extinguished. You should consult with an experienced attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Hanna Legal, LLC
    Hanna Legal, LLC | Jen Hanna
    There is really no point at which it is "safe" to try and terminate parental rights. In my opinion, it will be best to wait until after your marriage this fall before you begin anything. If the biological father is willing to terminate his rights voluntarily, then the process is fairly lengthy and complicated, but you should be able to have your fiance adopt the child as long as he passes the proper background check and home study. If the biological father wishes to maintain his parental rights, then you should have an in-person consultation with an experienced attorney prior to filing any paperwork. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    You must be married at least a year for the court to waive a home study. If you file for adoption before being married a year you must have a favorable home study. A home study will cost $600+ .
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
    In Wa. state the ONLY way to terminate his rights is with his consent or through a dependency proceeding in which the State terminates his rights. A dependency proceeding is one in which the State alleges that one or both parents are unfit and takes possession of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
    Get married first, and then retain an attorney to do a stepparent adoption.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Law Offices of F. Richard Ricketts, PLLC
    Law Offices of F. Richard Ricketts, PLLC | F. Richard Ricketts
    What you want to consider is a step parent adoption, which would accomplish both the relinquishment of the parental rights of bio-dad and the replacement of the new husband's name on the birth certificate. The key thing is that the adoptive father would be on the hook for child support and all of the other responsibilities that flow with being a dad.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Patrick McCarthy
    Patrick McCarthy | Patrick McCarthy
    Under Michigan law, a parent/party can move for the termination of the opposing party's parental rights pursuant to Michigan statutory law. For instance, if a parent has failed to provide child support and/or failed to have contact/parenting time with their child for a two year or more period, then that may serve as a basis for termination. It is recommended that one consult with a skilled lawyer to ensure that you know your rights and that you take the proper action.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    If the state is collecting child support from him then you will not be able to terminate his parental rights. He can agree to terminate them to facilitate a step parent adoption, but you would need to wait until you are married and your new husband must move to adopt your son.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA | Bernard Jones
    You can being termination proceedings now.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A.
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A. | Robert J. Merlin
    You can contact the Department of Children and Families to see if they will proceed with a Termination of Parental Rights action.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    Just start the adoption process and through that process you can terminate the parental rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
    Right after the wedding would be a good time to start. Yes, it has been long enough. You have to show that the biological dad has not had contact nor has he supported the child for more than a year (either will do and he did both). You have to file a petition for adoption (actually your husband does) and then, as part of the same proceeding, you file a petition to terminate parental rights. He will need to be personally served. If you genuinely have no idea where he is and he cannot be found after lifting mountains to do so, the court may let you get away with a publication but don't bet the farm. If he shows up in court, he is entitled to have an attorney appointed for him at government expense. You have tp pay for your own counsel. This can be a hard road. OTOH, if he shows up and starts making noises about being a dad, hit him with the child support bill that has been piling up (everything that accrued since you got off aid is yours, even though DCSS is still trying to collect for you) but tell him if he caves you will waive all support. If his rights are terminated that ends his responsibilities, too. If he defaults, and the guy you are marrying is as good as you think he is, then you could make this work.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    Unless he consents, you will not be successful. If he is paying child support, even if he is behind, he has not abandoned the child and still retains full parental rights.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    It is much easier if the biological father will agree. If not, see an adoption attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Pietryga Law Office | Russ Pietryga
    The easiest way is to file a "Petition to Terminate Parental Rights". It appears that the natural father has abandoned the child, pursuant to Utah Code. As far as best interest is concerned, you wpold allege in the petition that it is in the child's best interest to terminate the natural father's parental rights. Note, it would help if your fiance was willing to adopt. Further, you will file the petition in the juvenile court of your county.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    Under Washington state law, your fiance/husband can initiate an adoption proceeding in the county where the child resides. However, the birth father MUST be given notice and consent in writing to the adoption. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Durkin & Graham, P.C.
    Durkin & Graham, P.C. | Joan Durkin
    Most counties won't allow a termination unless there is a new "parent" to adopt. Since you have that, it is likely the court would approve this. If the Texas Attorney General has found your ex, then you can send him the papers to see if he will agree to terminate his rights (which he probably will since it gets him off the hook for future child support). Will the new Dad be able to provide for your child so that you can get off state aid? If so, you may even be able to get some unofficial help from the local AG's office. Otherwise you are looking at $1500 minimum in legal fees to handle this.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Brunetti, Donnelly & Gulczynski | Meghan Gulczynski
    An adoption complaint can be filed. The biological father will be served and have the opportunity to consent or contest the matter. Ultimately, the court will make the decision.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    In the adoption the biological father will have to consent, and the adoption will terminate his rights in the child. Get an attorney after you get married to do a step-parent adoption. In the meantime get as much child support as you can, and let him know that you will not stop bringing him to court for contempt when he fails to pay his child support obligations.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You need an attorney, and my offices have handled theses issues before. You are getting to the time point where is it possible to potentially terminate parental rights of the abandoning father over his objection, and if you are married and your husband is willing to adopt that would make matters much, much easier.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/20/2012
    Billy Stage, Attorney at Law
    Billy Stage, Attorney at Law | Billy Stage
    Here, there are two complaints: the Petition to Terminate Parental Rights and Petition for Adoption. They could possibly be combined and done in one action if the biological father will consent to the adoption. If he does not want to pay child support - or have any other dealings with the child - he could join in the Petition for Adoption which would terminate his parental rights (and he would not have to pay child support anymore).
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/20/2012
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