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Can a private party request termination of parental rights in MN?

Minneapolis, MN |

I would like to adopt the son I've been raising for the last 10 years. My son was removed from his bio-mom due to abuse and neglect after she moved to another state. Custody was given to his father, now my ex-fiance (we were never married), when my son was 1 yr old. We tried for termination but bio-mom was given 1 supervised visit per year. She has not seen him in 6 yrs. Now she wants to. We were originally told we could pursue termination if she did not utilize her visitation so to wait. Now we are told that in fact only the states attorney in this state can request termination-and they won't come back into the case since there are no new abuse charges. Bio-Mom still lives in other state. She does not pay child support. We've been in MN the entire time. Can we request an action here?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Hello. Based on the facts as you stated them to be, I urge you to have private attorney counsel in this matter. Adoption is a complex process. There are many more questions to be asked and answered prior to providing you with appropriate legal advice for your needs and goals. Some attorneys, myself included, will confer for free, at no charge. Then, if legal work is performed, some attorneys, myself included, will provide a reduced fee for need. All the best to you and your family.

    Tricia Dwyer, Esq., Minneapolis, MN, Family Law, Child Custody & Child Support Law, Rule 14 Qualified Neutral, Minnesota Supreme Court Roster Mediator, Tricia Dwyer, Esq. & Associates PLLC, Phone: 612.296-9666 EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR until 8 p.m. daily. See www.dwyerlawfirm.net


  2. The short answer is yes, a private party can file an action to terminate parental rights. However, I agree with my colleagues that have already answered that you have some complicating facts. If you have resources for an attorney, it is a good idea to find one you are comfortable with to address the issues each in turn.


  3. You can file a private termination petition. However, this is one of the most complicated legal procedures under Minnesota law. You have other options you should pursue first if you are thinking about adoption. I suggest in any event you retain counsel if you are serious about this adoption.

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