Are You Seeking Termination Of Parental Rights Due To Child Abandonment in California?
I Wish To Terminate The Parental Rights Of My Child’s Other Parent
Has the other parent of your child failed to be involved in your child’s life either through lack of visitation or financial support? Or maybe the parents of the child you have been caring for have not exercised their parental rights for more than six (6) months. If either of these situations is applicable to you, our team of family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich may be able to help you obtain the termination of parental rights of your child’s other parent, or the child’s legal parents.
For over 30 years, our family lawyers have successfully helped terminate the custody rights of parents who have abandoned their children in Southern California. You can rely on our experience and accountability to achieve the best result in your case the moment you retain our firm. Speak to us today.
How To Terminate Parental Rights If Child Was Abandoned
California Family Code Section 7820 provides that the family law court can terminate the parental and custodial rights of a parent who is found to have abandoned their child. For example, you may be able to establish that the other parent has abandoned your child and terminate their custodial rights, if the other parent has:
- Provided no financial support;
- Had little or no contact with your child for over a year; and
- Had intent to abandon your child.
The termination of parental rights would prevent the other parent from exercising custodial rights or visitation with your child in the future.
The family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are knowledgeable about the laws relating to child abandonment and can assist you through your child abandonment case. We understand that making legal decisions when it comes to your child can be very difficult. Let us guide you through the entire legal process.
Who Can Bring A Child Abandonment Case? (Family Code Section 7820)
According to California Family Code section 7820, you may bring a proceeding for termination of parental rights for the purpose of having a child, who is under the age of 18 years, declared free from the custody and control of the child’s legal parent, or parents, if the child fits within any of the descriptions of California Family Code Section 7822. Examples of those who can bring child abandonment cases are:
- A legal parent of the child;
- A grandparent of the child;
- A step-parent of the child;
- An adult sibling of the child;
- Any other adult who has taken over the care and custody of a child, due to the legal parents’ absence.
When Can You Bring A Child Abandonment Case? (Family Code section 7822)
According to California Family Code section 7822, you may bring a child abandonment case under any of the following circumstances:
- The child has been left without identification (for example a birth certificate) by the legal parent, or parents.
- The child has been left by both parents, or a parent with sole custody, in the care and custody of another person for a period of at least six (6) months. During this period, the legal parent, or parents, have not provided financial support or had communication with the child. The legal parent, or parents, must also have intent to abandon their child.
- The other parent has left the child in your care and custody for at least one (1) year and has not communicated with the child during that year long period. The other parent also must not have provided any support for the child during the year long period, and must have had the intent to abandon the child.
If the circumstances of your case fit within any of the above situations, you may be able to successfully bring a child abandonment case to obtain the termination of parental rights of your child’s other parent (or legal parents). However, it is important to note that given the serious nature of child abandonment cases, the family law courts are hesitant to terminate parental rights. The experienced Wallin & Klarich family law attorneys can help you show the court that a finding of child abandonment is proper under the circumstances and that the termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child.
How To Prove That The Legal Parent(s) Had Intent To Abandon The Child?
Under California Family Code section 7822(a)(2) and (a)(3), you must show that one or both parents had the intent to abandon the child. You can show that there was intent to abandon the child by the legal parent, or parents, by using the surrounding facts of your case.
California Family Code section 7822(b) explains that the court will consider the following as evidence of intent to abandon the child:
- The parent or parents have left the child and failed to provide identification for the child (An example of this is providing a birth certificate);
- The parent or parents have failed to provide support for the child for an extended period of time;
- The parent or parents have failed to communicate with the child for an extended period of time.
If the legal parent, or parents, of the child have attempted to make a few, half-hearted efforts to support or communicate with the child, the court may declare the child abandoned by the other parent. The court does not want to allow parents to retain their parental rights if they do not make a serious attempt to support or communicate with the child. Additionally, in cases where the court has already appointed a guardian for the child, the court may declare that the child has been abandoned, if the legal parent, or parents, have not financially supported or communicated with the child.
Reasons For Pursuing Termination Of Parental Rights
There are several reasons that you may want to terminate the parental rights of the legal parent, or parents, of a child. These reasons include:
- If you have re-married, you may want your new spouse to adopt your child. In order for your spouse to adopt your child, the parental rights of the other biological parent must be terminated;
- The other parent has a drug or alcohol dependency problem, and has not been involved in your child’s life. You may want to protect your child’s best interest, by terminating the parental rights of the other parent so that they cannot attempt to seek custody and visitation orders in the future;
- If the legal parents of a child that you are caring for have left their child in your care for an extended period of time, you may have developed a strong bond with the child. If you want to adopt, file for a guardianship, or participate in dependency proceedings over the child in the future, terminating the parental rights of the legal parents will make it easier for you to become the legal parent, or guardian, of the child.
If any of these apply to you, child abandonment proceedings may be the right path for you. You should speak with an experienced child abandonment attorney to discuss your rights and obligations before you pursue a child abandonment case.
Consequences Of A Ruling That The Child Has Been Abandoned
If you are able to show that the other parent has abandoned the child, the other parent will no longer have parental rights. The termination of the other parent’s parental and custodial rights is a final decision by the court. In other words, the other parent could not bring any custody, support, or visitation requests to the court at a future date. You will be the sole custodial parent for the child.
Similarly, if the court finds that both parents have abandoned the child you have been caring for, both parents will have their parental rights terminated. This may later result in an adoption, a guardianship, or participation in the child dependency process for the child.
Speak To Wallin & Klarich Today. We Will Get Through This Together.
The family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of legal experience and can assist you through your child abandonment or child custody case. Wallin & Klarich works hard to provide you with a well supported legal case, while keeping both you and the child’s best interest in mind. Wallin & Klarich is aware that family law cases, especially cases relating to child custody issues, can be stressful. With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks, the child abandonment attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available to guide you through your termination of parental rights case.
To speak with a child abandonment attorney at Wallin & Klarich today, call (888) 749-7428.
We will get through this together.