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Is there a "default" period for the non-custodial parent to give up rights after having NO contact with child?

Queen Creek, AZ |

Wondering at which point it is more harmful than helpful to continue being positive when it comes to my daughter;s father. He has been absent from her life now for 12 years. (She is 14) Random phone calls used to come in few and far between and were never positive or nice, always negative and "heavy" but for 2 years now all contact has stopped completely and I wonder is there a "default" period where she doesnt have to allow him to contact her anymore? How long is "long enough?"

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Attorney answers 2


While I am not licensed to practice law in your State, I will attempt to give you some guidance here. In most States, there is no fixed "default" period of parental rights (or obligations). While you could probably file a formal application with the Court to terminate his parental rights, I would not recommend doing so, especially if there has been little or no contact. I would let sleeping dogs lie. Furthermore, there is the possibility that your daughter may wish to attend college, which is extremely expensive these days. Even if her father has not exercised his right of visitation, he would not be relieved from his legal obligation to contribute to her support at that time, or even now for that matter.


There really is nothing you can do unless you want to take the offensive here and file an action to establish paternity, custody, parenting time and child support. It certainly might be opening up "pandora's box." I would always encourage a child's relationship with the other parent because it's usually in her best interest. It's hard for her and she does not need to know what's really going on.