My child is now 10 years old and her father hasn’t seen her since she was two. Child support has never been paid for her and her father has never been in her life. My husband has been her “father” since she was one and loves her to death. My husband wants to adopt my child, how do I get my ex to relinquish his paternal rights so my husband can adopt my child?
Answer: There is no simple way to have a parent of a child to have their parental rights taken from them, with that being said there are ways that you can go about doing this. The simplest way in my opinion would be to offer to have him sign the proper documentation that you have a family law attorney provide for you and tell him if he does not relinquish his parental rights to the child that you will go after child support for all the years he was required to pay. I wouldn’t simply make an idle threat, have a experienced family law lawyer figure out the exact amount that he would be liable to pay if you brought this matter to a Family Court and demanded back child support. Also find out what type of criminal sanctions will be levied against him if he does not pay for child support. Usually with parents who in no way want to see their child and do not pay child support, you offering to let them off the hook for the rest of their life is all they’re going to need. Yes, I understand how sad that sounds, but it is the truth. If you simply give the father the option of no longer being obligated to the child or having to pay child support from the point where the child was born until the child is 18 or 23 depending on if the child is going to go to college, this is usually enough to scare any deadbeat dad into giving up his parental rights. Just think about it, this guy doesn’t want to be in your child’s life and is not paying for your child, most likely he just want to be left off the hook and put that part of his life behind them. If your new husband wants to be the child’s father and adopt the child, that is wonderful and the courts will take that into account. If the father does not sign over all his parental rights, there are other legal methods you can do to obtain this. This is certainly much more complicated and I would seriously suggest you employ the services of an experienced family law attorney such as those that we have working for us and do not attempt this on your own. What you will need to prove is that the child’s father is unfit, has never participated in the child’s life, has never supported the child, and if the father is in some way a danger to the child that would greatly help your chances. Although the matter of getting parental rights taken away is a much more lengthy discussion and should be performed by an experienced family law attorney.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
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