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Hi, I have some legal issues going on and I was wondering what type of advice some of you ladies might be able to give me.
Here is my situation:
I have a 17 month old son with a guy, we never married. He is on the birth certificate. In the 6 months he was in my son's life, he abused us terribly, then he walked out on us. My son and I fled, From New Mexico to Arizona. I just got married and my husband wants to adopt my son as his own. The father never supported, cared for, or even wanted our son. He told me all the time he never wanted him, always referred to my son as "it" or "your F****** son". It has been almost a year since he has seen him. I have a restraining order in effect until October because of his threats, the state of NM pressed charges against him for domestic abuse and cruelty to a child. They conveniently got dismissed because his attorney "found" more evidence, and evidence suddenly went "missing" during the case. However we have given ample opportunity to go to mediating or have him come here and get court supervised visitation. In September he promised that every pay check he would send money to support his son. Not one penny has come, even when his son dearly needed medicine that I couldn't afford, I called him and he wouldn't send a penny. My son now has huge trust issues with men, it took months for him to warm up to my husband, a man whom my son has known since birth.
What would the best way to go about his rights be? Can I have them terminated without him knowing because of abandonment?
And how can his daddy (step-daddy) adopt him as his own son?
You need to contact a lawyer and no, you can't have his parental rights terminated without his knowledge. No matter what kind of scumbag he is, he has legal rights that are protected under the law. Not saying he deserves them...just that he has them. If he's a real sh** he will fight back. If he just wants to be rid of the legal responsibilities, he may not. Hard to say but you need a lawyer. It just isn't as easy as it once was to terminate a parent's rights. When I was a baby, my father just signed over his rights. End of story. I wish it was that easy now but it isn't. If he fights back, you will have to prove he is a bad father and a danger to your son. That may be possible with the history. That's why you need a lawyer. They will be able to tell you what your chances are and how long it will take and how much it will cost. Then you'll be better equipped to make that decision.
Hope that helps!
Actually you can have rights terminated. Depending on the laws where you live...here you can terminate rights by sending documents to the last known address or publishing in the newspaper IF there has been no contact for a given amount of time. That's what my attorney did. But it had been 5 or 6 years with no contact. He still has to pay support though, and he still doesn't and she's 13!
Here's my questions tho....If he was never convicted of what you stated, then could it be said that he hasn't contacted you BECAUSE you have a restraining order? That might be an opposing argument? Just saying...prepare for arguments like that.
AND....child support and visitation are not connected in any way. Do you have any idea how many fathers or mothers would not see their children due to non payment of child support if they were connected? Bottom line...no one gives a flying @$#% if he's not paying support in regards to terminating rights...separate issues completely. Not paying support does NOT equal no visitation.
At your son's age, it's hard to maintain contact because they are too little to use the phone and write letters and what have you. And I know you say he has trust issues now but if you want to actually have a leg to stand on in court and PROVE that he has been affected or traumatized, get him into counseling (ie. A PROFESSIONAL UNBIASED OPINION.) Kids are amazingly resilient, though.
I would go get an attorney and if after being married one week, you want your new husband to adopt your son, prepare for a long drawn out process.
Last edited by hopenot4gotten; June 20th, 2010 at 11:29 PM.
I would say contact an attorney because the laws in each state vary. The issue is that is name in on the birth certificate so he is the child's father (unless he claims he isn't, then you can get the court to petition for a DNA test and the rights might can be terminated). In the state where I live, that means that each parent has equal right to the child and what sucks even more is that even with custody papers, if he sees the child and even doesn't return the child, law enforcement cannot go and pickup the child (remove the child) from the parents home. The only way they can do that is by a pickup order signed by a judge and have the judge's request to have the child removed. This is because law enforcement can't determine the best situation for the child.
As bad as it is, even though he has offered no support and so on, you should have stopped that from the beginning by going to court and getting child support established. In the state I live in, they can garnish his wages directly from him employer and it takes A LOT of effort but if you keep going (in my state) to the Department of Human Resources and report he isn't doing it and keep on and on, they can actually suspend/revoke his license and even put out a warrant for his arrest. Where I live, even though he hasn't supported the child or claimed the child, due to the fact his name is on the birth certificate that makes him a parent with equal rights to the child and therefore has parental rights. I don't think you can have his parental rights terminated because that is a complete civil matter, therefore you have to file a civil complaint against him in family court in regards to a custody matter and go before a judge with your proof that he has not been an active participant in the child's life and request to have his rights terminated.
Since you have a no contact order, make sure you read through your paperwork because that means you also cannot contact him. That is weird you even got a protection order because having a child together, they are usually dropped because parents have to communicate due to a child. You can go to an attorney and he can do all of it as a third party, therefore the protection order will not be violated by either one of you and you won't have to speak to him until you go to court.
Bad situation and it will take a long time to get to the end of the road but you have to start somewhere. Once the rights to the child on your ex's side have been terminated the adoption step is a lot simpler, although it will have to go through an attorney and go to family court to be legal. But I will say this, make sure there is a clause in reference to child support if you two split or have a divorce (Of course I hope that never happens, but some laws about adoption are different, because this will be legally the child's father--adopted, but will not just be a step father, he will now have rights to the child just like you do).
But kudos on finding someone that accepts you and you beautiful son That is wonderful!