How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Walter Your Own Question
Walter, Legal Consultant
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11528
Experience:  Family Law Consultant Specializing In Interpretation Of Family and General Law.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Walter is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How long does a parent have to be absent from a childs

Resolved Question:

How long does a parent have to be absent from a childs life, financially, physically and emotionally, before the parent''s rights can be terminated? Is this not abandonment? My exhusband has never paid court ordered child support and has not been in my son''s life in over 4 years, in any fashion.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Walter replied 9 years ago.


Termination of parental rights is never easy nor something the courts tend to allow without good reason. The courts must always rule in the best interest of the child and seldom is terminating a child's bond with his or her father in the best interest of the child unless there are good reasons.

Since you did not mention the reasons for wanting the rights terminated I can tell you what is generally allowable under the law. Adoption......this is where the child is adopted by someone other then the mother and father or the mother is married and her husband wishes to adopt the child. If the biological father consents termination is a simple matter. Other reasons from sometimes include:

Mental Illness or Deficiency
Alcohol or Drug Induced Incapacity
Abuse/Neglect or Loss of Rights of Another Child
Sexual Abuse
Child's Best Interest
Felony assault of child or sibling
Murder/Manslaughter of sibling child

If the mother and father want to terminate the rights, they will have to petition the courts together for this. Your reasons above would not be enough to terminate his rights.

Most states consider a child's best interest in termination proceedings. In some states, statutes use general language mandating that the child's health and safety be paramount in all proceedings, while other states' legislation lists specific factors that must be considered, such as the child's age; the physical, mental, emotional and moral well-being; cultural and attachment issues; as well as the child's reasonable preferences.

I would strongly advise you to seek legal counsel before attempting to terminate his rights due to the probability of being denied.

I wish you the best in the new year.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Walter's Post: Abandonment doeas not apply? Or the threat of bodily harm?
Expert:  Walter replied 9 years ago.


Abandonment can be considered for termination of rights. Typically it depends on how long the abandonment has been and the circumstances of the case. As for the threat, that depends on the context of the threat, proof and who was threatened.

Based on what you have stated you would have a case. In the end it is up to the judge.


Walter and 6 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

Related Family Law Questions