Occasionally it happens that one parent feels it prudent or necessary to terminate the parental rights of the other parent. Generally the need comes from the fact that the other parent has abandoned the children into the safekeeping of the custodial parent and has not taken steps to provide financially for the children. It can also be that the “out” parent has not kept contact with the children for a long period of time.
In a nutshell, the California Family Code section 7822 provides a laundry list of circumstances where a termination of parental rights action might be brought. The most common circumstances are when there has been no contact by the non-custodial parent for a long period of time or no support has been paid by the non-custodial parent for a long time. The statute has a minimum time frame of one year for these two factors, but, realistically speaking, the Court is generally looking at the relationship between parent and child when it decides whether to terminate a parent’s rights. If there is actually a parent-child relationship and for some reason a parent has not been involved for only a year, it would probably be a tough sell to a judge. If, on the other hand, you have a child whose non-custodial parent has never been in the picture, not even token involvement, then it would be more likely for a judge to terminate the parental rights of the non-custodial parent. There are a couple of other bases for termination that do not fall under that section, such as a parent being convicted of a felony (the type has a lot of bearing), but the two most common circumstances are a failure to maintain contact or support.
For these types of proceedings it is very difficult to represent yourself. It is a very unique area of law in which few attorneys practice. I get calls from people asking for the form to terminate their parental rights, but if it were that easy, you’d think this magical form would be posted by the state on its own website. There is a form, but it is controlled by the Court and someone would only get it from the Court if they were involved in a termination case, so you still have to go through the motions, even if it is an uncontested matter in which the non-custodial parent is willing to have his or her parental rights terminated. The ultimate decision rests in the hands of the judge.
If you are contemplating bringing an action in Orange County to terminate the parental rights of the other parent, please contact us. For this service we only offer full legal representation by attorney Derrick Taberski and no unbundled document preparation services.