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Can a text message be legally binding in a custody case?

Covington, KY |
Filed under: Family law

My daughters father had agreed in May of this year to sign over his rights via text message, he then disappeared before anything could be finalized, as in a DNA test. Recently his new girlfriend has started contacting me asking when they get to see my daughter, stating that he has tried daily to see his daughter but I refuse, I still have not heard from him since May 9, 2012. She is now asking about having a DNA test, which I have been trying to achieve since Feb. and he hasn't been located. He has a history of mental illnesses (anger issues, bipolar disorder, severe ADHD) to the point where he was receiving a SSI check, in the event that the text message is not legally binding, the state manages to find him, and we finally have the DNA, is that enough to ask for no visitation?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    Unlikely that you can terminate rights via text; even if proven to be his and authentic.
    It can be used as evidence that he has no interest in being a parent and ultimately to the best interest of your child.

    Kentucky law does not certify specialty of practice in this area. The advice given herein is informational and should not be considered as creating an attorney/client relationship. Michael Bouldin is an independent attorney located in Northern Kentucky. It is strongly recommended to not give any confidential information on any website.

  2. No, a text message isn't going to be "legally binding" on anyone in the above-described scenario. If the father has a mental condition that may cause safety concerns during visits, the usual solution will be to have supervised visits. I suggest you arrange a confidential consultation with a local attorney as soon as possible for further advice and suggestions on how to proceed with this delicate situation. You can find local attorneys by searching among the profiles here on Avvo. Good luck!

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

    Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.

  3. It is unlikely that your ex's text message would be binding. In order for a parent to to have their rights terminated, a court has be involved. You would need to file a motion, and your ex would be a necessary party. If he now objects to a termination of his rights, the court will likely ignore the text. The fact that he has mental health issues alone is not likely to be sufficient for a court. You need to speak with a family law attorney in your area to determine your chances of terminating his rights.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.

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