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Would a judge likely find abandonment in my termination of…

second opinion] Would a judge...
second opinion] 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
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,820
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Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

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Good evening,

Judges are very, very reluctant to terminate a parent's rights. Here is what Florida law says:

“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.

You provided $900 a month, texted and called 3 times and day, and visited 3 times, whenever you could. I would say you made significant efforts to remain involved in your child's life and clearly did not abandon them. True, you may not have always spoken to him (and as the parent of a toddler myself, I know what a challenge that is, they don't exactly talk much and when they do they bounce all around and don't really say much of significance) but you were checking in on them and asking about them, expressing concern and making sure that they were okay.

I cannot envision a judge terminating your rights.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you. Do you think it matters that the $900 wasn't from my own income but from the fathers?

No. Regardless of where it was coming from, you made a point to send it to your parents for your child's benefit (you didn't have to stay on the father to make sure that money kept coming), and you stayed in regular contact. To claim that you wiped your hands of him and wanted nothing to do with him and abandoned him is simply ludicrous.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks! One other question; does the judge care at all how i act while litigation is on-going? I have been visiting every 2 weeks, sending my own money and calling every single day. I just wonder if it will even mean anything (I'd be doing it anyway though).

I think it's one of those things where you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. If you weren't doing it, your parents would argue "See? Even now she won't visit!" And when you do visit, they can argue "She's just trying to look good."

I personally think it is better that you visit -you can show that you have been consistent all along, visiting when you can (more now that you are closer) and never once intended to abandon him. I think family law judges value the relationship between children and their parents, and want to keep that whenever possible. A termination of parental rights is permanent, and a very, very drastic step. It's not something judges take lightly.

RobertJDFL
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you. I hope not. I haven't done anything wrong or malicious to lose him like many mothers I've read in caselaw. Hopefully I get my baby back soon. Thanks for the advice.

I hope you do too. I know I don't know you, but you seem like a caring and concerned mom. I'm sure that you were doing what you had to do to take care of your son, not what you wanted to do. I'm sure you would have visited more if you could have.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I would have. My dads wife couldn't have children so she is kind of taking advantage of the situation and trying to adopt my son. It's a tedious process because the courts care about the children, but horrible for me because I only had good intentions.Thanks again
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