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GeorgetownLawyr, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12049
Experience:  Experience: contested Divorces, custody disputes, Post dissolution modification, child support issues, adopti
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This is a family law question in FLORIDA. Do I have a basis

Resolved Question:

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 being paid?
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.
Per 39.01:
(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?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  GeorgetownLawyr replied 3 years ago.

Hello and thank you for using our service. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help you. I just ask for you to ask any additional questions you may have if you feel the question has not been answered. Also, IF I have bad news for you, please remember I am only the messenger, I will try my best to give you a solution, but sometimes the law does not have a good one.


You do not even have to talk about the child support because legally look at what the statute says: 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...


So you only need to show one or the other. Focus on he has failed to establish OR maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child because that is easy for you to show after no contact for 3 years. Now you consulted a local attorney in the county you are in who would know the practices of the local judges and he is probably right about what those local judges will do. You have the law, which is on your side but then you have local practice and I know it is frustrating but true.


So I would recommend you seek a second opinion locally and see if it matches what the first attorney told you. If you are still determined to go forward then do so because the law does support you and if the judge denies your petition, you can always appeal the decision and get it out of the local courts by going to the appellate court. The appellate court will apply the law and then you have a chance to win. Additionally, the father may not even contest the petition and then you have no problem getting what you want. I hope this helps clarify.


Please let me know if you have additional questions and please do not forget to rate my service to you (not the state of the law or whether you dislike the answer) as that is the only way that I can get credit for my assistance to you. If you feel I have not earned a positive rating, please give me a chance to do so. Keep in mind even after you rate the service, I can still answer additional questions for you without additional charge. If you do rate me positively, a bonus is always appreciated. If you would like to request me in the future, just make sure you type: To Georgetown Lawyer on the subject line. Thank you!


GeorgetownLawyr and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  GeorgetownLawyr replied 3 years ago.
Hi Valeria,

I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help?

Let me know,