Can you terminate the rights of an absent parent in Virginia?

Asked over 1 year ago - Fredericksburg, VA

My ex has never been consistently involved in my sons life and he is now 10, how can I terminate his rights? He pops in and out of his life, he lives out of state, but when he does decide to be involved, he is very abusive emotionally, he last threatened to blow of my effin head in front of my son. I have an active restraining order, but what can I do to permanently remove him from our lives? He is not on the birth certificate, and pays no support, I have sole physical and legal custody with no visitation already. Thank you

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Anneshia Miller Grant


    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No, a judge would have to terminate the rights/responsibilities of the parent; and that is not going to occur unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as abuse, violent criminal behavior, substance abuse, etc. One possibility you may consider is adoption. If there is another would-be parent willing to fulfill the role as the child's father, then you should consult with a local attorney regarding the procedures.

    Good luck.

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    Anneshia Miller Grant
    Garrett Law Group, PLC
    (757) 422-0195 - 24 Hour Service

    Responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and any... more
  2. Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Avvo offers only general information and NOT legal advice. No lawyer can offer proper legal advice without first meeting with a client to obtain a complete legal history of the case. It is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced family lawyer to discuss your rights and options. As noted in the prior response, asbsent highly unique circumstances, you can not terminate the father's rights. In Virginia, the law presumes that the best interest of a child is served by having contact with both parents. Although he is not in the child's life, the law "presumes" that your child's overall well-being is served by having two parents. The presumption is subject to rebuttal as noted by Ms. Grant. Also, the Virginia legislature has made a policy decision regarding terminations for financial reasons. Once a parent's rights are terminated that person becomes a legal stranger to the child and no longer owes a duty of financial support. If parents could summarily terminate rights, many people would terminate their parental rights as a way to avoid paying child support. Unfortunately, this would burden the state with the responsibiity of paying child support for thousands of fatherless children. By making it difficult, if not impossible, to terminate parental rights, child support obligations rest upon the shoulders of the parents and not the state. Absent very unique circumstances as identified by the prior response, a court would deny your request. Best of luck~

    This response is only intended for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute... more

Related Topics

Father's rights in child custody

Father's rights refers to the parental rights of the father, primarily child custody and visitation rights. Fathers sometimes also need to establish paternity.

Parental rights in child custody

Parental rights includes the rights a parent has in regards to his or her children. Mothers, fathers, and unmarried parents are sometimes treated differently.

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