7 years ago I filed for parental responsibility and child support because father said if I left he would swipe our children since we shared rights at that time. I moved on and have been scared. I gained all rights based on father did not appear or file a response. dad seemed caring so on the final orders I believed it would be in our children's best interest that I allow father parenting time. Although he does not take advantage of his opportunity. He has not paid child support in over six months. Additionally he has not seen the children in 6 years. Can I terminate his rights? if I can is he still responsible to pay child? our children are not being adopted? If I can terminate under what grounds?
Family Law Attorney
Different states do things in different ways, but generally a termination only occurs as part of an adoption or Dependency Neglect proceeding. It is considered an extreme measure and most jurisdictions do not terminate without very good cause.
If your child were in a dependency neglect proceeding the rights could be terminated on the grounds of abandonment, I suppose if you were to seek termination that is the most appropriate grounds. Be advised, if rights are terminated your son would lose all rights to future child support and inheritance if his dad died without a will.
Every legal matter is fact specific, and there are often nuances in every case. This is intended for comment only, and does not create an attorney client relationship.
It is almost impossible to involuntarily terminate someone's parental rights, unless there is someone who you are involved with now who is willing to adopt the children. Even then, it is extremely hard if he objects. I am a former judge who presided over termination and adoption cases. Both the parent having rights terminated and the adopting parent need to go through extensive counseling about the fact that it terminates the obligation of child support, the right to inherit, the right for visitations, etc. I would suggest paying for a discounted initial consultation with one of us here on Avvo for some further direction.
The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice. Mr. Leroi answers questions on Avvo because he strongly believes in public service from his years as a judge, magistrate, and prosecutor. If you need to ask any follow up questions because my answer did not fully address your question, feel free to call Chris or post an additional question. Thank you.
Termination of parental rights ends ongoing support obligations, but does not get rid of the arrears that are currently owed. You will not be able to terminate his parental rights at this time. You would need to show that he has not provided emotional or financial support for the child for more than a year. Even then, many judges will not terminate parental rights and responsibilities unless there is another parent willing to step in and adopt the child.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC by phone or email. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.