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    md1207's Avatar
    md1207 Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Sep 26, 2011, 11:49 AM
    Trying to figure out my next move- Abandonment/terminating his rights?
    I am trying to find some information to help myself out with a situation I am in. I got pregnant by my boyfriend at the time last year. When he found out he told me to get an abortion. When I said I would not, he broke things off and told me never to contact him again. I had no interest until recently, when my son was born, because I want to get the situation resolved. I want him to terminate his parental rights so if he changes his mind later, he doesn't have automatic rights to see my son without my knowing he is serious about being in his life or not. I also want to put my parents minds at ease. They are worried if something happens to me, then the father changes his mind, he will be able to take my son away from the only family he has known and cares about him.

    I have been trying to contact him for over 4 months now. I assume he has changed his number. He will not answer emails. I recently found his parent's address so I have been thinking about sending a certified letter to him but he lives 4 hours away in a different state. He has done his best to be unreachable to me. His name is not on the birth certificate.

    I've been somewhat dragging my feet on getting the situation taken care of because he has a temper and was very quick to threaten to try to take the child away or make parenting decisions against my knowledge just to screw with me. I realize it may have been all to get me to have the abortion, but I'm still worried involving lawyers will make him upset and make him fight me just to get even for having my child. He is a completely unfit person and I'm seriously worried what would happen if he had any rights over my child. He smoked weed several times a day and was very open about how he felt it was all right to take care of a child high.. And he drank all day. And did I mention his completely irrational temper?

    I have no had any contact with him for over a year now. I am not sure what my next move should be to resolve this issue or if I can legally get his rights terminated in Georgia. Any information at all would be very appreciated. I have tried reading up on the laws myself, but everything gets so confusing between different states.
    kcomissiong's Avatar
    kcomissiong Posts: 1,166, Reputation: 276
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    #2

    Sep 26, 2011, 12:40 PM
    You cannot simply file to have his rights terminated. People can't just stop being parents because someone wants them to. (Step-parent adoption is an exception to this rule, but doesn't seem to apply here) If you weren't married to him, and he didn't sign an affadavit (sp?) of paternity, then there are no rights to terminate. The only right he has now is the right to petition a court to give him additional rights. You would have to establish him as the legal father before anything else could happen, including an order giving you sole custody.You also need to file for child support, which generally will include establishment of paternity.

    As an aside... this is his child. If he changes his mind, and wants to be a part of his child's life, it won't matter what you or your parents think about it to a court as long as he isn't a danger. You can certainly ask for a "phasing in" period of supervised visitation, but again, as long as he is not a danger, if he established paternity and asks for visitation, he will get it. The best outcome is to have him take up both his parental responsibilities and obligations, and to be the best father he can be to your child, and is he wants to do that, a court will more than likely let him.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,701, Reputation: 1438
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    #3

    Sep 26, 2011, 01:05 PM
    You need to file for child support against him and get things done through the courts. Then you will know where you stand with this situation.
    Synnen's Avatar
    Synnen Posts: 7,927, Reputation: 2443
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    #4

    Sep 26, 2011, 01:05 PM
    I do want to point out that if you collect state aid at any point, you will have to provide his information so that they can go after him for support. At that point in time, paternity will need to be established.

    You cannot terminate his rights because you don't want him around any more than I could terminate YOUR rights because I think I'd be a better mother than you are.

    I would go to court and establish full physical and legal custody if I were you... and get child support established. He will STILL have to file in a court for any parental rights and visitation--visitation and support are completely separate issues.

    But it is better to establish custody NOW, before he decides to get involved.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #5

    Sep 26, 2011, 01:12 PM
    There is this myth that someone can have their rights terminated just because they want to. There is a sticky note at the top of this forum that will explain the real facts to you. I suggest you read it. Just click on the Family Law link above.

    So the likelihood of getting his rights terminated is just about nil. The likelihood of doing anything without involving the courts and lawyers is also about nil.

    So what you need to really decide, is whether you want or need support to raise your child. If you do, then you take him to court for support. If you apply for public assistance, you will have to name him and the state will go after him.

    Since you are in GA you could file abandonment charges, but that will only lead to child support.
    md1207's Avatar
    md1207 Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Sep 26, 2011, 02:23 PM
    So there is no way for me to make sure he has to go through me if he changes his mind later? I just have to sit around and accept that even if he does not want to even be in any contact right now, later down the road he could change his mind for a week, flip everything around, then break my son's heart as much as he wants? There has to be some way to keep him from picking up parental rights to a child he does not want to know anything about just whenever he feels like it with no thought to how it effects anyone.
    md1207's Avatar
    md1207 Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Sep 26, 2011, 02:25 PM
    And I am not the least bit interested in child support honestly. That is not what any of this is about.
    md1207's Avatar
    md1207 Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Sep 26, 2011, 02:27 PM
    Sorry about so many replies, but I did read the sticky.
    "1) A bio parent cannot be forced to relinquish their rights, it has to be voluntary.
    A) The only exceptions to this are where the bio parent cannot be found after a good faith effort to contact them or in cases where the bio parent represents a danger to the child. "
    Does that not apply to this case?
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,701, Reputation: 1438
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    #9

    Sep 26, 2011, 02:36 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by md1207 View Post
    Sorry about so many replies, but I did read the sticky.
    "1) A bio parent cannot be forced to relinquish their rights, it has to be voluntary.
    A) The only exceptions to this are where the bio parent cannot be found after a good faith effort to contact them or in cases where the bio parent represents a danger to the child. "
    Does that not apply to this case?
    No this doesn't apply to your situation as you haven't even gone to court yet to prove anything. Without proof then you have no case.

    You really do need to establish child support for the child and then see where it leads. Its best for the child and in not doing so it could later affect a decision by the courts against you.
    md1207's Avatar
    md1207 Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Sep 26, 2011, 02:41 PM
    I am starting to speak to some lawyers about the situation. I just want to be completely sure what I am doing before I start shelling out money. I do have the emails I have sent him, phone records, and text messages. I'm worried that if I just up and file for child support, he will get upset enough at me to fight me and not allow me to terminate his rights.. whereas if I try to get his right terminated with him having no contact and me not showing any sign of asking him for money.. I think I have a much better chance of him just not caring.
    If I get lawyers involved now and try to get him to terminate rights, it will look badly that I have not filed for child support?
    md1207's Avatar
    md1207 Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Sep 26, 2011, 03:14 PM
    And for the record none of this is about him not seeing my child. Or forcing him to stay out of his life. It's about me being able to make sure he is serious and understands the weight of his actions before getting involved with my son if he does change his mind later. I wouldn't ask him to terminate his rights to shut him out. I just want my son to be protected if he does decide he thinks its neat to be a father later.
    I have a child with another man who is an amazing father. A jerk in a relationship, but an amazing father and I have never once kept him away from his son. I understand that a father is something that is important. But I also do not want my son to have a name and face to someone that should be that important unless he is committed to being involved. So if I can get him to terminate his rights while he is not interested, I think that would be great. Child support < being able to protect my son emotionally from someone who may not be a stable influence in his life.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,701, Reputation: 1438
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    #12

    Sep 26, 2011, 03:15 PM
    Here is part of what the law says.


    A decree has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction of this or any other State ordering the parent, guardian, or other custodian to support the child, and the parent, guardian, or other custodian has wantonly and willfully failed to comply with the order for a period of 12 months or longer.



    So go get a child support order and then let things go as they may.

    How long have you lived in Georgia? How old is the child?
    md1207's Avatar
    md1207 Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Sep 26, 2011, 03:19 PM
    I have lived in Georgia for 5+ years. My son is only 4 months old. So to file for termination based on no contact, I have to file for child support and have him refuse for a year from that date?
    Could he willfully give up rights without me having someone to adopt my son? The father is from North Carolina if that makes any difference. My son was born in Georgia.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #14

    Sep 26, 2011, 04:03 PM
    You keep laboring under the impression that you can get his rights terminated. Your chances of that happening are infinitesimal. I'm not even sure you can file for it because there are no grounds. If you file for abandonment in GA that simply means you are trying to enforce support.

    You talk about not wanting to force him out of your child's life, but that's exactly what you are doing. And its why you won't get a TPR. The courts understand the finality of issuing a TPR. They realize that people who find themselves unexpectedly a parent, especially fathers, may need time to come to grips with that. So they will leave the door open.

    I understand your wanting him to make a commitment and not be a sometime father. But the choice is not entirely yours. If he refuses to be a part of the child's life at this point, the courts will simply say he isn't exercising his rights so why bother terminating them.

    What you can try for is full legal custody. In this way you can have some control. He just can't walk into your life when he wants. He will have to go to court to get visitation. That will require serious commitment on his part.

    As for your not going for child support, that's a double edged sword. On the one hand, by not applying for support, you don't force his hand. On the other hand, unless you can prove that you won't be depriving your child by not going for support the court might not look kindly on it.
    md1207's Avatar
    md1207 Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    Sep 26, 2011, 06:27 PM
    I do not think going to court for visitation would be a big deal to him. His father is a lawyer and his parents are rich and take care of everything for him. Which is why I think it would take just annoying him enough by going for child support for him to push for it just to be a jerk.
    So even if I can get him to voluntarily terminate his rights, the courts won't allow me to?
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #16

    Sep 27, 2011, 03:17 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by md1207 View Post
    So even if I can get him to voluntarily terminate his rights, the courts wont allow me to?
    Right. ONLY a court can terminate parental rights. He can sign whatever papers you or he wants, but unless a court ratifies that agreement, his rights will not be terminated. And, as I've said, courts are very reluctant to issue a TPR. There either has to be danger to the child and that danger needs to be overt and extreme or there is a step parent waiting for adoption. It would be highly unlikely that a court would grant a TPR in any other circumstance.

    A court would also look unfavorably on your logic. If you claim you don't want to deprive him of being a part of your child's life, but are only trying to force him to be serious about they will ask why you want to permanently end his rights. So I would highly recommend you NOT pursue a TPR at this time. But that you do pursue full legal custody.

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