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Would a judge likely find abandonment in my termination of…

Would a judge likely find...
Would a judge likely find abandonment in my termination of parental rights case in Florida:Case is ongoing. I let my parents watch my son for 18 months. I was sending $900 a month and visited 3 times because I lived in another state and worked a lot.I asked for my son back now that I'm ok good ground but my parents want to keep him. They served me with TPR petition and adoption. They say the $900 I sent doesn't matter because the father of my son sends me that money and I just sent it to them, could that be true? And my three visits weren't enough? I texted and called almost 3x a day, but since he's a toddler, I didn't really talk to HIM. They're claiming abandonment. This has already taken 8 months in court and I'm just wondering if a judge will likely find abandonment.If I had known the $900 wasn't considered support from me I would have done something more, I had no idea they'd want to keep him!
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1/17/2018
Sue
Sue, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 443
Experience: Family Law litigator for over 35 years
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Hello, I’m here to help you today. I'm a licensed attorney with over 35 years’ experience in family law. I'll review your question and be right back.

Sue

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This is general information and not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. This is for educational purposes only.

Given the facts you stated, no, a judge is not likely to find abandonment.

Does anything in the TPR or adoption prevent you from going to pick up your son?

Sue

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
They filed for temporary custody when I told them I was coming to get him. The judge gave it to them even though there was no neglect abandonment or abuse found!
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No drugs or criminal history involved. They just said I was gone too long.

You could file a motion in the same case your parents brought to ask for temporary custody yourself.

What do you think?

Sue

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
They got temporary custody pending the TPR trial. Most attorneys I've spoken to say this is unheard of (we are currently in appeals from the temporary custody)Did the judge part from the law by giving them temporary custody if no neglect is found?

It's hard to say. It certainly does seem unusual.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Are there any statues or caselaw that would show the amount of money I sent would be considered support?

The nature of the money you sent will be determined by the facts. For instance, if your parents can claim you were re-paying a loan. Otherwise, the fact you sent it stands for itself. Was there any note or comment accompanying the payments?

Sue

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Sorry I'm not quite sure what that means. The father sent $1000 a month and I sent my parents $900 because my parents told me to keep $100 for myself each month (I have proof of that). In their motion, they're claiming I essentially sent zero because the dad was sending me that money. It's kind of a trap I found myself in.I'm afraid that fact and my 3 visits in 18 months will find abandonment. However, I couldn't visit that often because I was working so much. I don't know if the judge will care

Proving abandonment as the primary grounds in a non-consent adoption is unlikely to happen given your facts.

Are you familiar with Florida's non-consent adoption statute?

I'm going to do a little research and be right back.

Sue

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Here is a links from Florida TPR statutes, which leads to this link defining abandonment as "“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.

Wherever the $900 came from, you sent it to your parents to support your child. You made efforts to keep in touch with a young child. Judges know you can't carry on much of a conversation with a toddler.

Is that helpful?

Sue

Sue
Sue, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 443
Experience: Family Law litigator for over 35 years
Verified
Sue and 87 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks!

You're welcome.

Please let me know if you have other questions.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I do
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Does the judge care about my actions during the trial proceedings? Lately I have been visiting her often and calling every single day and sending my own money. Will that be noted during the TPR trial or will it not matter since things were already filed and it be "too late" for me

It's not too late. You can let the judge know that once you became aware your parents alleged the $900/month wasn't enough because of its source, you sent your own money. Increased visitation and phone calls are always a plus.

This thread remains open about a week. I'll check back in to see if you have other questions.

Sue

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