You and your child’s father don’t exactly see eye-to-eye, and you’d prefer that they have nothing to do with your child’s upbringing. Can you cut the father out of your child’s life entirely by asking the court to terminate his parental rights?
Maybe. The answer to your question will depend a lot on the specifics of your situation.
The situations in which parental rights can be terminated are clearly defined
Every state has different rules on when someone’s parental rights can be terminated. In Florida, some of the reasons a father’s parental rights could potentially be extinguished include:
- The father is willing to surrender his parental rights in writing. If the father wants nothing to do with your child, this could free your child to be adopted by a loving step-parent, instead.
- The father has had other children removed from his care or his parental rights to those children were involuntarily terminated. That’s often evidence enough for the court that a father is not a suitable parental figure.
- The father is incarcerated and likely to remain so for a significant portion of the child’s life. Whether he’s in and out of jail like there’s a revolving door or he’s been sentenced to a long stretch in prison, the court may determine it’s in the child’s best interests to terminate the father’s parental rights.
- The father is a danger to the child’s well-being. This could be due to drug or alcohol abuse, mental health issues, gang involvement, domestic violence or other problems that could pose a serious threat to the child’s safety.
- The father is a registered sexual predator. The court takes such issues very seriously, and that could easily be enough to warrant termination of his parental rights.
- The father has abandoned the child. When the father makes no effort to establish a parent-child relationship or simply abandons the child’s care to others, that can eventually lead to a termination of parental rights.
If any of these situations apply or you think you have another valid reason for acting, talk to an attorney about your concerns and learn more about your options.