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How do I terminate the rights of my daughter's biological father in Nevada (Washoe County)?

Reno, NV |

My ex and I were never married and there has NEVER been a custody order in place since he lives in WA (and I in NV - our daughter was born here) and has been in and out of prison since before she was born. He has never had any physical contact with her (they sent mail for a while and monthly phone calls) and he has failed to contact her in any way for almost a year. I recently found out he is back in prison (drugs, theft and felony pursuit) and want to term his rights especially since I am married now and my husband wants to adopt her. I am almost positive my ex will not agree to this, but I'm sure I have grounds, I just don't know where to start, especially since we can't afford to hire a lawyer.

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Attorney answers 2


You will have a very hard time getting a termination done without an attorney. As parental rights have constitutional protection, it is not an easy process. So many unrepresented people were screwing the process up that the self-help center no longer provides forms. You may be surprised at the cost of using an attorney, especially considering that your "ex" may contest but really doesn't have much of a leg to stand on so it is really more uncontested. Once you get the termination out of the way, the adoption is pretty easy. Please call my office if you would like a consultation. The only other option would be to see if you qualify for a reduced fee or pro bono attorney through Washoe Legal Services or Nevada Legal Services.

Responses are for general information purposes only, and are based on the extremely limited facts given. A consultation with an attorney experienced in the area of law(s) indicated in the question is highly recommended. Information and advice given here should not be relied upon for any final action or decision, as the information is limited by its nature to the question asked and the fact(s) presented in that question. THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP, particularly considering that the names of the parties are unknown.



I heard on another site about filing an "involuntary adoption" might be an option since he has not had any contact with my daughter in over a year and never any physical visits or contact. It was offered as a way to kind of kill two birds with one stone as long as nothing had already been filed. Is this a valid option that we could pursue on our own?

Jill K. Whitbeck

Jill K. Whitbeck


Not in Northern Nevada. You have to terminate parental rights first before you can proceed with an adoption, and the standard for teminating parental rights is very high due to their constitutional protection. It seems you may qualify, but without an attorney you will have a very difficult time getting this done.


I agree; your chances of getting this done without an attorney are slim.

I don't do this anymore (one of my partners does, but I"m not at the office). If memory serves, though, the general standard is two years of no contact or support, or consent with new stepparent adopting.

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