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Termination of Parental Rights (Father resides in Jamaica due to deportation)

Atlanta, GA |

How do I, mom, apply for termination of parental rights of the biological father now that he was deported to Jamaica? The biological father's name was recently added to my son's birth certificate due to a mandatory court case resulting in proof of paternity. He has never provided any sort of care for my son except for a couple hundred dollars for clothes and my son is now 11. How do I go about terminating his parental rights? My son resides with me in Georgia and I have always been the sole provider for him. I have never received child support either. If anything were to happen to me, I would want my immediate family to receive guardianship over my son without any dilemmas. My son and I are U.S. citizens.

Thank you in advance.

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

While Courts are unlikely to delegitimate a child, I do have some good news for you.

A small handful of foreign countries have worked out reciprocal arrangements where they will assist most US States in the collection of child support. Jamaica is one of those countries. Thus you should ask the Georgia Child Support office to help initiate a case on your behalf with Jamaica.

(Other countries that have similar arrangements are Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Canada (done by each separate province) Czech Republic, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Sweden, and United Kingdom.

The US State Department has previously commented that some state child support officials are unfamiliar with the procedures, and you may need to talk to supervisors. At least three other states, California, Texas and Illinois have handbooks on these type cases and you may wish to get one of those.

Asker

Posted

Well I guess I should've also stated that I will be married soon and my fiance wants to adopt my son. I am not interested in receiving any child support from the biological father. He has never been in his life. After a mandatory court case connected to government benefits, I was actually awarded child support. He was then deported to Jamaica shortly after so I never received a dime which is fine. Would my fiance have any trouble adopting him? When he does, will his parental rights be automatically terminated?

Glen Edward Ashman

Glen Edward Ashman

Posted

You left out the real question and asked something else. Your fiance CANNOT adopt your child now unless you want to give up your child. At some point after you marry, he can seek to do so. A court will have to decide whether to terminate his rights for purpose of adoption unless he consents. From the facts you give, it sounds like that has a good chance. Adoptions by a step parent are one of the rare exceptions to not terminating rights. My office does handle such matters so feel free to call me after you marry at 404-768-3509. Adoption law is very technical and you want someone with adoption experience.

Posted

I was about to say "you can't terminate your son's father's rights". Courts are reluctant to end relationships between a parent and child unless the parent is either being replaced by someone else (adoption) or is such an extreme danger to the child that terminating the relationship is in the child's best interest. The fact that your son's father was deported is NOT a reason to terminate his parental rights. Additionally, your best method of protecting your children in the event of your passing would be to contact an Estate Planning Attorney for assistance in arranging provisions.
But based on your comment to Mr. Ashman's answer, my answer has changed...

You need to wait until you're married. Once you are married, your husband will have to file a step-parent adoption petition. Actually, he will need to hire an attorney to file the petition on his behalf. You attorney will request termination of the father's rights (or obtain the father's consent) as a part of the action.

Note, even if your fiance becomes your husband and then adopts your son, you still need to make plans for what happens if. Estate planning (wills, medical power-of-attorney, financial power-of-attorney, etc.) is something that everyone with family or property that they care about should take care of (and occasionally update)!

Good luck solidifying and protecting your family structure.

~ Kem Eyo

The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.

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