How do I terminate the father's child custody rights if he disappeared for seven years? 23 Answers as of June 25, 2013

We were married and even before the divorce his whereabouts were unknown. The last known anything on him was from 2003. He hasn't seen the kids in over 7 years and had no contact. How do I terminate his rights?

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Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
Divorce would be your first step.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 6/21/2013
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
You can't. If he is not around, why worry about it?
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/21/2013
Donaldson Stewart, PC
Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
It is difficult in Arizona to terminate his rights unless you have remarried and your spouse wants to adopt the children. If this is the case, you can file an action in juvenile court to terminate the father's rights on the grounds of abandonment. If the court determines that such abandonment has occured, the court can terminate his rights and that would allow you to move forward in applying for your spouse to adopt. If you are not remarried, you are still permitted to file a termination action on the grounds of abandonment, but the court usually does not like to terminate a parent's rights if there is not a stepparent prepared to adopt after the termination.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 9/20/2011
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
You can't. And there's no need to.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/25/2013
Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
You need to talk to an attorney about filing an action to terminate his parental rights in juvenile court.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/25/2013
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    If you husband wants to adopt your child, a court action must be started and a good faith effort must be made to locate the father before his parental rights can be terminated by a court.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    George Pecherek & Associates, P.C.
    George Pecherek & Associates, P.C. | Andrew John Hawes
    You need to petition the court and ask the court to award you sole custody. You must give notice to him of this proceeding; if you do not know where he is located and cannot locate him, you can do service through publication. Ask the clerk how to do this. You must also convince the court that the modification of the prior custody determination (which I assume occurred as part of your divorce), based upon facts that have arisen since the entry of that judgment, that a a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or either or both parties having custody, and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the child. If he has completely abandoned you, this should be relatively straightforward, as clearly it is in the best interest of the child for the parent taking full care of them to have full decision making authority. You should contact an attorney specializing in this area of law to make sure that the appropriate procedures and papers are completed.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A Termination of Parental rights may still proceed forward by using exhaustive efforts to locate the other parent. If failing to do so, you may seek a court order to allow service on the other parent by alternative means, usually by publication.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    You need to seek specific legal advise. However, termination of parental rights is a tough climb.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    While it can be sometimes done, under the circumstances your described, it is extremely difficult. Some Judges will not do it in situations such as yours. You will need to consult with an attorney regarding this issue.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Law Offices of Thomas D. Nares
    Law Offices of Thomas D. Nares | Thomas D. Nares
    You can do this by filing a motion for sole legal custody if you have or are in the process of being divorced. However, this does not terminate his rights completely. You can also bring a motion for termination of parental rights as a result of abandonment, either by way of a motion or if you have a new spouse and he wishes to adopt your child, then through a step-parent adoption proceeding. Hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You have to file a request for the court to terminate the father's rights. There has to be a hearing and a determination by the court that terminating the father's right is in the best interest of the minor child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
    Unless you have a stepparent willing to adopt them, then you will likely be unable to do anything. You should consult an attorney, however, to determine if he truly cannot be found, whether the ex can be declared or is dead, and any benefits your children may be entitled to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    You can file a motion with the court requesting sole legal/physical custody. Call a local lawyer to help you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    You will need to file a complaint for termination of parental rights. You would need to accomplish service by publication in a local newspaper at his last known residence.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/20/2011
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