When should someone file for termination of parental rights due to abandonment?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2011

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When should someone file for termination of parental rights due to abandonment?

My ex-husband has a history of alcohol abuse and has 2 DUI’s that I know of, has verbally admitted to me that he has used drugs including cocaine, tried to commit suicide twice while child was in his care. I haven’t done anything yet because he was living out of state, he’s been back in CA for 1 1/2 years and has made no visitation attempts yet but I’m worried he might. I don’t feel child is safe with him until he fixes his problems. I’m worried if I file and it goes through I will no longer receive the child support that I need to help care for our child.

Asked on January 3, 2011 under Family Law, California


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You are correct to worry here on all levels of the question you have asked.  First, it is true that if you file for termination of his parental rights then you will indeed lose the support that you need to live.  So then that may not be the option you wish to pursue. I am assuming that you have some type of divorce agreement that deals with support and custody, correct?  So I would consult with an attorney about modifying the agreement as to the issue of child custody.  You need to request that the court limits visitation to supervised and limit the time frame and not allow overnight visits at all.  You will need proof of your claims here regarding the abuse and the attempted suicide while he was caring for your child.  The court looks at these matter in the "best interest of the child" and I think you have a strong case here.  Good luck.

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