I would like to know if there is any way to terminate a father’s parental rights based on abandonment?

We have not know where my ex-husband resides for several years and he has managed to avoid at all costs child support. He does not have bank accounts, credit cards, or even an active driver’s license. The inability to locate this absent parent is keeping me from making other decisions for my children ie. I have a cruise and a trip to Italy I am planning and I am unable to get a passport for my children without the consent of this absent parent.

Asked on September 1, 2012 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, termination of parental rights is a very difficult thing to achieve.  There has to be cause for termination and that cause can be dofferent for you than say a state agency looking to place the child up for adoption.  What you may want to do is go to court to change the custody order.  That may or may not allow you to get passports.  Generally the reason that both parents have to be present (or give consent) for those under 15 is that courts seek to protect the right of each of the parents and the "taking" of children abroad.  Take your present agreement and order to an attorney to review.  Good luck.


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