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How long does a father have to absent and not pay before he "abandoned" his child and rights may be able to be taken away?

Cinnaminson, NJ |

My son biological father moved out of NJ to Ohio about 5 months ago. He has officially stopped making payments this month warrant on him as he has a court order owing my mom $3,000 which is also not paid. He does not ask about his son and for all I know will never see him again. I will eventually like for him to sign over all his rights so my fiancé can gain custody of him in the next 2 years after we marry next year.

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Attorney answers 5


His parental rights will never go away on their own. His supporter rears will continue to build. He cannot just walk in and out every child's life with that many months in between, you could insist that he return to court and go through some kind of reunification therapy if he comes back.

But his obligation to pay and his rights to see are not something that expire if they're not used. It does not work that way. You cannot voluntarily terminate parental rights in New Jersey, whether by word or deed.

If you get married, your husband can adopt the child, and if the X agrees and does not fight it, that would relieve the ex of all support and all support arrears, and would terminate his rights to see the child. But outside of DYFS action, or an adoption, the rights will remain.

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Biological father can consent to adoption by your fiancée. Then you can procede.

973-984-0800. Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advice and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.


You cannot have his rights eliminated/terminated merely by the passage of time. He would have to voluntarily surrender them in favor of someone, through court proceedings.

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The best way for his rights to be terminated is if he consents to your fiance adopting your child. If you fiance seeks to adopt, you can file a complaint for adoption but you must provide notice to the father. If the father doesn't object your adoption would likely proceed, if not it becomes contested. Then the judge would have to rule that the other parent is unfit to perform the duties expected of a parent. See N.J.S.A. 9:3-46. As always, you should discuss this with a family-law attorney. For instance, child-support obligations cease once a child is adopted, although from what you write, this might not be too important.

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I don't believe his rights will disappear. Certainly your ability to pursue child support from him doesn't go away. You need to seek counsel regarding the adoption procedure and the steps that must be taken.

If you found this Answer helpful, please mark it as "Best Answer". Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Scott A. Sheldon, Esq. Law Offices of Adam Kotlar, LLC, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 Phone: (856) 751-7676 PLEASE NOTE: The above statements are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained on this site without first seeking the advice of an attorney. less

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