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Abandonment grounds for termination of parental rights in NC?

Wake Forest, NC |

I have 2 kids (aged 9 and 11) with the same man, but they don't even remember him because he hasn't been around since the younger was an infant. He is NOT on the birth certificates and never went to court to officially assert paternity. I lived in the same house for about 5 years after and he made no attempt to assert parental rights or see the kids. After 6 years he sent me an email, but I ignored it because the kids don't need the emotional trauma of having him suddenly reappear and have to deal with his drama. Around the same time, he was arrested and convicted of assaulting a female. Well my question is if I retained an attorney at this time, would it be easy to get a TPR based on abandonment? I'm scared of going to court unless it's a sure bet.

The 11 year old does not want the bio-dad in her life. The 9-year-old boy is severely autistic and change is not good for him. He would not be able to handle even supervised visitations. I don't think the bio-dad has any official rights, but I would feel safer if there was an official TPR.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. First I must tell you that it is never a sure bet when you are talking about a TPR. You did not say what the father said in the email or how long it has been since he sent it. If he asked about the children in any way that counts as an attempt at contact. It must be at least 6 months from the last contact or attempted contact. A TPR is a 2 part test. Even if you meet the grounds for termination, in this case abandonment, then the judge will look at the matter to see if it would be in he children's best interest for the termination to take place. It is a high standard, higher than the standard in a custody case. I have done several TPR's and have seen it go both ways. There is so much that you need to talk to an experienced attorney about before proceeding with this matter. It may very well be the best thing for these children in these circumstances especially your son that is autistic. If you died the father would be the next in line to assume custody and it sounds like that could be devastating for these children. You will need an attorney to proceed on this matter.


  2. I believe you have grounds for termination of parental rights. One email in six years is not a lot of contact.
    My firm is experienced in these types of cases. An attorney can help you get through the process effectively and understand the ramifications that termination has on the children, including inheritance rights.

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