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How long must the non-custodial parent go without contacting or visiting a child before it is considered abandonment?

Joliet, IL |

Under grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights it lists abandonment and failure to maintain contact with the child. How much time must pass before it is considered abandonment or how long does there have to be no contact before a judge will terminate parental rights?

my daughter is 6 her NCP hasn't seen her in about 3 years and before that he has seen he maybe a hand full of times in her life. If I pass away I do not want her NCP to get custody of her because he is violent how can I make sure he doesn't get custody in the event of my death?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. a judge will only terminate parental rights in an adoption or a juvenile case. in an adoption, abandonment is one definition of unfitness. the statute is 750 ilcs 50/1. the time for abandonment is not defined. but desertion for three months is another definition of unfitness.

    unless you have someone willing to adopt, you are not going to get parental rights terminated.


  2. Who do you think is terminating whose rights? You pbviously are not the state. Is someone trying to do an adoption? This question is confusing because we need to know who is asking and for what purpose. You cannot just ask a court to terminate a father's rights because he has not seen his child. If that was the case many children would not have father's.

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  3. You cannot, as a private person, terminate parental rights. What you have loosely paraphrased is the information contained i the adoption statute. If you can find someone to adopt your daughter, you may be able to have her father's rights terminated for abandonment and failure to maintain an interest or contact. But you cannot simply seek termination without a proper court proceeding - either the adoption or through a juvenile proceeding.