If my son’s biological father has not seen or contacted us in over 4 years and hardly pays his ordered support, is there any way I can strip his parental rights?

I want to keep my som away from him. Also, do I have the right to move out of state to better my children’s lives since he has had no contact or interest in my child; he has stated in court documents that he wants nothing to do with my son.

Asked on January 10, 2013 under Family Law, Indiana


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country in order for the biological father to lose his parental rights as to his son, he must freely and voluntarily sign an adoption agreement with a third party giving up such parental rights subject to court approval on the matter. Unless the above can be done, you cannot "strip" the father of his parental rights as to your son.

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There are a couple of ways you can accomplish what you are seeking.  The first is to try to terminate his parental rights completely.  Some courts hesitate to do this because it also deprives the child of the potential to collect child support or to inherit from a parent.  Your second option is to modify the custody orders and ask that the court not allow him to have any access to the child except at your discretion.  Your basis would be that since he has had no contact with the child in over four years that it would be emotionally difficult for the child to just let him "jump back into visitations." 

As far as movement is concerned, you can move to where ever is best for your child as long as there is not a restriction in your court orders.  If your custody orders contain a provision that you must reside within a certain county or state, then you would need to petition the court first before you move.  If you do not get the court's prior permission, then he could file an enforcement action against you later.  (Which probably wouldn't happen considering his historical disinterest).  If you do not have this clause in your orders, then you are free to move where ever and whenever you would like. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.