This is a family law
question in FLORIDA.
Do I have a basis to file for Termination of Parental Rights
of my daughter's biological father on grounds of abandonment, despite child support
The child is 6 and has not had any contact with father for over 3 years. He did not pay child support for several months until I reported him to court, and now only pays it to prevent license suspension as he's a commercial driver.
We'd like to get TPR and have my husband do a step-parent adoption.
From FL Statue 39.806, Termination of Parental Rights can be requested on the grounds of:
(b) Abandonment as defined in s. 39.01(1) or when the identity or location of the parent or parents is unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent search within 60 days.
(1) “Abandoned” or “abandonment” means a situation in which the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, has made no significant contribution to the child’s care and maintenance or has failed to establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child, or both. For purposes of this subsection, “establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship” includes, but is not limited to, frequent and regular contact with the child through frequent and regular visitation or frequent and regular communication to or with the child, and the exercise of parental rights and responsibilities. Marginal efforts and incidental or token visits or communications are not sufficient to establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with a child.
Can I argue that the support paid is only intended to prevent personal loss and not intended to support the child's well-being; and that the father has not made any substantial efforts to have any type of relationship with the child?
The lawyer I'm working with has dismissed this saying that even though the law seems to support my claim, in practicality it's "impossible" to get TPR unless there's severe abuse.
Can someone please confirm that the law as it's written is indeed not applied as such in Florida?