Has your child's other parent neglected your child through lack of financial support or visitation? Or maybe you're caring for a child whose parents have failed to exercise their parental rights for the last six months. If you're involved in either situation described above, you may be seeking termination of parental rights in California. Whether you wish to end the parental rights of your child's other parent or the child's biological parents, the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks
How to Terminate Parental Rights If Your Child Was Abandoned
California law dictates that the court can terminate the parental rights of parents guilty of child abandonment. In order to establish a parent has abandoned their child, you must determine that the parent has:
- Failed to proved financial support;
- Had very little or no contact with their child for at least one year; and,
- Purposefully abandoned their child.
The termination of parental rights in California would deny a parent visitation and prevent them from wielding custodial rights with your child in the future.
Who Can File a Child Abandonment Case?
Children under 18 years of age, and who fit within the description of California Family Code Section 7822, can be declared free from the custody of their legal parents. You may seek termination of parental rights in California due to child abandonment if you are the child's:
- Legal parent;
- Adult sibling; or,
- Any other adult currently caring for a child in the absence of the legal parents.
When Can You File a Child Abandonment Case?
You can file a child abandonment case under one of the following circumstances:
- A child was left without any identification (such as a birth certificate) by a legal parent.
- A child was left by the sole custodial parent, or both parents, in the care of another adult for an extended period of six or more months. During such period, the legal parent, or parents, have failed to communicate with their child, as well as not provide any financial support. In addition, the legal parent, or parents, showed every intention of purposefully abandoning the child.
- Your child was left in your custody and care for at least one year, and the other parent has not communicated with the child during that period. In addition, the other parent has failed to provide any financial support, and had every intention of abandoning your child.
If your circumstances fit one of the above scenarios, you may have a case for child abandonment. You can then seek termination of parental rights in California. However, keep in mind that because of the serious nature and lasting effects of child abandonment, the court is very hesitant to terminate the rights of parents. An experienced Fresno CA family law attorney can help you effectively prove that terminating parental rights will serve in your child's best interest.
Proving That a Legal Parent Purposefully Abandoned Their Child
In order to successfully terminate a parent's parental rights you must prove that the parent purposefully abandoned their child. The court recognizes the following evidence as intent of child abandonment. The parent:
- Left a child without providing any of their child's identification (such as a birth certificate).
- Has not provided financial child support over an extended amount of time.
- Has not communicated with their child for over a specific amount of time.
Half-hearted attempts by the parent or parents to communicate with their child is not enough to prevent the court from terminating parental rights. The court only recognizes serious efforts to communicate with a child as evidence for keeping parental rights in tact.
Lasting Effects of Child Abandonment Rulings
If the court rules in favor of your child abandonment case, then the court will strip the child's other parent of their parental rights. This means that that other parent can no longer bring visitation, custody, or support requests to the court. You will then become the child's sole custodial parent. Similarly, if the court determines both parents abandoned their child, then both parents will no longer retain any parental rights. The child will then go through the process of adoption, guardianship, or child dependency.
A successful termination of parental rights in California requires the help of an experienced family law attorney. To learn more about how we can help, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks