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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1508
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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I have physical custody of our two minor children. In our divorce

Customer Question

I have physical custody of our two minor children. In our divorce decree he is granted only 12 visitation hours every other weekend until he completes either a mental examination or counseling for his sex addiction and parenting classes. We were divorced in 2010 and he has not done any of those. He moved to TX back in May of 2014. He has only seen the children one time since and that was December of 2014 to contest his child support. He is no paying child support and currently almost owes $30,000. I have since remarried and we have a very stable home and environment and the children are thriving. My oldest son has said numerous times that he wants my last night and wants to be adopted. His biological dad calls every so often but that is all.
Recently, my children have started talking about the destructive behaviour my ex portrayed when he lived in state and on his vistations. He apparently was in 3 car accidents and almost flipped a car, he left our daughter home alone who was 2 at the time, in the bath tub and drove almost an hour away before he remembered that he left her. He tried taking our children into the bar. He also told my children not to tell me this because he would come into the house and steal them and would use a pistol if he had to. He also stated that if I were to let him take them to TX that he would never bring them back and would run from me.
My question is, what can I do with all of this information? Is it possible to terminate his parental rights? I live in ND and that's where the children's jurisdiction is.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
Hello. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience. I specialize in family law and appeals, and I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, contract law, and other types of law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site. Oh, keep in mind that at the end of this discussion I'm going to ask you to please rate me as that's the only way I get credit for my time here today. Thanks!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What are your opinions on what a referenced above?
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
You have a biological father who has probably legally abandoned his children by not paying child support and by failing to keep in contact with the children. I'm sorry for the kids that this is happening but if you want the children to have your husband's last name and you want to adopt, you may have a chance here. Abandonment in ND is defined here:"Abandon" means: a. As to a parent of a child not in the custody of that parent, failure by the noncustodial parent significantly without justifiable cause to: (1) Communicate with the child; or (2) Provide for the care and support of the child as required by law. This is the same as in NY. You can do an adoption proceeding based on abandonment where they will look to terminate his rights because he has not been paying child support nor has he been communicating with the child. Once in awhile phone calls aren't communication, as most case law will show. He's also a danger to the kids. You can take this information to a family lawyer who does adoptions. Is that what you'd like to do, an adoption? Because it says that your kids want to be adopted. If you want to go through with an adoption, the court will look to terminate his rights at the same time.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, my husband and I have talked about it and he would like to adopt them as well and raise them. Would the state of ND grant that or would there have to be a hearing?
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
There would have to be a hearing but they will determine whether he deserves the right to object or not. He may deserve notice of the hearing but that doesn't mean he will have the right to object. As a notice-only father, he will not have the right to object. You will need a family lawyer who handles adoptions. They can do the adoption and the termination at the same time, and here you have a bio dad who has abandoned the children. That's the way I would proceed with your case -- go for an adoption and a termination at the same time. Your kids are lucky they have a stepdad who is better than their bio dad so absolutely, this is the way to proceed if you want an adoption. Find a family lawyer who does adoptions. Not all family lawyers do adoptions. I did for awhile but then I stopped doing that, so find out if the lawyer does adoptions and how much % of the lawyer's work is adoptions. You want someone who does a lot of adoptions and I would recommend someone who has at least 10 years' experience. I'm practicing 36 years so you want someone with experience. If you need help finding a lawyer, I cannot recommend one for you, but I can send you a list of lawyers in your area (family lawyers) and you can go through the list to see who does adoptions. Then I'll tell you what to look for. If you tell me your nearest big town or city, I can send you that list if you want, or you may already know of a family lawyer who can help you, Just let me know if you need this list and I'll be happy to send it if you tell me the town/city.Does this answer your question? If you need more information, let me know.I hope this helps and clarifies. If you could, I'd appreciate it if you can rate me when finished. Kindly rate me positively so that I can get credit. It is no additional charge to you. Please accept my answer, rate my answer and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you and with your question. I work hard to give you a thorough and honest answer. I thank you in advance for rating me. Please let me know if there is more that I can do to answer your question and if you need more information. If not, I thank you for your rating. I can’t get credit for answering your question without your fair and honest rating. Thank you and best of luck to you!
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
The bio dad may also not have any interest in being involved in the adoption proceedings and may not show up. There's always that chance. He knows he owes money, he knows you can pursue different things against him, get him for child support, etc. so he may not be willing to come back to ND. He may just give up or he may come to listen but he will probably not be able to block the adoption if he is a notice-only father, and that is likely that he is a notice-only father. That means he cannot block the adoption but just be there if he chooses to be, and the court gives him notice but not the chance to block it.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
I'm supposed to stay here for about 15-20 min but when we go beyond that we ask for premium services. I'm not going to do that even though we went beyond that time. I just want you to understand that I need to answer other questions right now but I will check in from time to time to see if you need any more questions answered. I thank you in advance for rating me. I can't get credit for being here today without it. Be well and feel free to keep in touch!