My daughter is now 11, her biological father and I split a few months after she was born. His name is on the birth certificate. He saw her a few times until she was 18 months old. Nothing since. Sends a message via Facebook every few years wishing her a happy birthday. I have been with my husband now for 6 years. He would love to adopt her. Her biological father won't sign away his rights, also won't force my daughter to see him (she doesn't want too), and has never paid any child support. He is zero part of her life. We have nothing thru the court system. No orders at all. He is also currently dealing with some legal issues.. ankle monitor, probation, etc.. I'm wondering if ANY of the above could be considered grounds for an involuntary termination of parental rights?
Firstly, I want to thank you for truly looking out for the best interests of your child. Unfortunately, parents like yourself are a rarity. I hope that my answer will provide you with enough guidance to understand the options. Although attorney opinions will differ on this, your objective to have the adoption granted and terminate parental rights is certainly a possibility. In all cases, terminating parental rights is difficult and you should not assume it will happen. No matter what an attorney tells you in an attempt to secure your business, terminating parental rights is an uphill battle and you should not assume it will occur just because you hired an attorney - you are looking at a judgment call by the judge. Judges will not take this request lightly and most will error on the side of not terminating parental rights without some clear and convincing reason.
With that being said, there is statutory and case law that supports a termination of parental rights in this situation. Because much of the law governing this situation is found within the case law, you need an attorney who understands how to make those arguments and find the past cases that best support your objective. Don't listen to any attorney who makes this sound as if it is a run of the mill case - research should be done on comparable cases by the attorney representing you before anything is filed. As an attorney with a background in family law issues who represents people throughout the state, I have found that 'striking while the iron is hot' can be to your advantage. Here, the biological father is currently on probation - that may be the hot iron you are looking for. Please understand that this is not going to be a short process, but doing what is best for your child is certainly worth the investment.
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