Skip to main content

Can parental rights be terminated on grounds of abandonment?

Olympia, WA |

my daughter is 12 and hasnot seen her father in 4 years, we have lived separately for 7 years I have maintained custody and he has never paid support. I want to have his parental rights terminated, do I have grounds?

Attorney Answers 2


What you cannot do is to prospectively abrogate your daughter's right to be supported by her father. If there is a parenting plan, he can be held in contempt for failing to follow it; if he hasn't paid support, DCS will help you collect the support.

The only way I know of to terminate the rights of the other parent are to get married, or re-married as the case may be, and then your new husband can adopt your daughter and that would terminate your ex's rights.

You clearly have grounds, but it is State policy not to terminate parental rights (unless the State thinks there is an emergency going on, in which case they would commence a dependency action) unless or until another parent is willing to step in financially for the absconding parent. You can offer to forgive the money he owes you in exchange for his agreement regarding the adoption. This will frequently work. Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell

Using Avvo does not form an attorney client relationship.

Mark as helpful


Abandonment can be a basis for terminating a parent child relationship.

However, normally, a court will not terminate a biological or legal parent's relationship with a child unless, at the same time, there is another person who will assume all of those rights by adopting the child.

Mark as helpful

Child custody topics

Recommended articles about Child custody

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics