How long does a parent have to be absent for it to be considered abandonment? 5 Answers as of August 20, 2013

My daughter’s biological dad has not seen or talked to her for 5 years. And before that he only knew her for six months or so. He is forcefully paying support. I am curious on how long do they have to be gone to be considered for abandonment? Thank you!

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The Law Firm of Jessica M. Cotter, P.L.L.C. | Jessica M. Cotter
In Arizona a part of the statutory basis for the termination of parental rights due to abandonment includes that the biological parent has provided no support for the child. You should consult with an experienced adoption attorney in your area to discuss possibilities. Perhaps the biological father would consent to an adoption of the child if it will end the support obligation. However, it is imperative that you discuss these issues with experienced counsel before you approach the biological father about such issues.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 8/20/2013
John Russo | John Russo
Most State statutes, 6 months no contact, that means none, cards phone etc, plus 6 months no support, but the hook to abandonment statutes is this, you also need a new spouse that files an adoption petition at the same time can't have one without the other. If every bust out parent could have their rights terminated by simply not paying and not seeing the child they would all do it, so the courts need someone stepping into that persons shoes, since the State has a vested interest if you ever go on State assistance they have someone they can go after for contribution if you have split up. There has to be someone that is responsible for the child support , so if you are letting him off the hook then the new parent would be liable if you split-up in the future.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/20/2013
Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
There needs to be a reason to find a parent has abandoned a child. For example, if you have remarried and your new husband wants to adopt the child he can ask the court to terminate the father's rights based on his lack of contact with the child for 5 years. However, since he is paying child support, he has not totally abandoned the child. In short, courts don't make rulings about abandonment just to say this is a bad person. There has to be an specific reason why the court would make a finding like this.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/20/2013
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
Depending on particular circumstances, if the purpose is to terminate parental rights, it can be 6 months or one year, at least in the State of Wisconsin.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 8/20/2013
DeBrincat, Padgett, Kobliska & Zick | Mathew Kobliska
"Abandonment" is a term which is used in a variety of contexts in the law, but it is not a term which would spring up in this type of situation after the passage of a specified period of time. What are your daughter's objectives? Does she wish to suspend his parenting time? Does she wish to petition for a step-parent adoption? Is there a concern that he will appear out of the blue and take the child?
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/20/2013
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