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What steps do I take to get my sons fathers parental rights terminated?

Plant City, FL |

I have not heard from my sons father in over a year. He does not communicate with my son what so ever. He was ordered to pay child support of 200.00 a month starting in September of 2011. I received 5 child support checks in this amount for the entire year of 2012 and received nothing in 2011. I just received a check last week in the amount of 10.00. This is the first check I received since July 2012. Again still no communication I have tried calling him, emails, text messages and nothing. I do not know what to do. I originally wanted to claim abandonment since there has been no communication since May of 2012 but now I am unsure if that will work since I just received a check for 10.00. My husband has been in my sons life now since he was almost 2 and he turns 5 in two weeks. My husband wants to adopt him. I really need help to try and get this issue resolved. My sons father lives in Tucson Arizona that is where we are from however we have lived in Florida since Feb 2010. Please help to point me in the right direction. I just want to get this solved once and for all. Thank you and any advice is very appreciated.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. This is a matter that you almost certainly need the assistance of an attorney. It is possible to terminate a parent's rights involuntarily for the purpose of stepparent adoption, but there is a high burden on the party seeking to do so.

    Legal disclaimer: this response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is based on the limited facts given and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney before taking any action based on the foregoing statements.


  2. You need to consult with a local attorney that handles adoptions. You are going to need to file a step-parent adoption and at the same time seek to terminate the father's parental rights.

    Perhaps you can eventually get the father to consent to the stepparent adoption -- it sounds like he may be inclined to do so if he sees that his obligation to pay child support will terminate. You can even stipulate that any past due child support arrears be waived if he consents to your husband adopting the child.

    Bottom line, call an experienced attorney to begin the process.

    You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-354-5223. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.


  3. It is very difficult to terminate someone's parental rights. They have to essentially be a danger to their children in order for you to prevail. Perhaps if you were to have a conversation with the father regarding your concerns, this might bring about some better behavior on the father's behalf?

    Good luck.

    Bill Rosenfelt 407-462-8787 (Orlando/Longwood/Central Florida)

    Please be advised that any answers or information disseminated above do not constitute legal advice and that the attorney responsible for this posting is merely attempting to participate in a Q & A session intended to be helpful but certainly not intended to be legal advice. It is important that you understand that no attorney-client relationship has been formed and that the attorney has no obligation to follow up with you with your legal issue unless you separately contact said attorney and arrange for him to legally represent you.


  4. You have to file a petition to terminate his parental rights.

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