What Does It Take To Terminate Parental Rights?

Alabama has a two-step process that any court must conduct before terminatirg any person’s parental rights. The case of P.H. v. Madison County DHR, Case No. 2040483, 2040490 (Ala. Civ. App. February 17, 2006) is a good illustration of how the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals thinks the process should work, because it examined the cases of both parents. It found that termination of parental rights was appropriate for one parent and not for the other.

As blog readers already know, Alabama has a two-pronged test for terminating parental rights. The court must first determine that valid grounds exist for terminating parental rights, including (but apparently not limited to) those set forth in Ala. Code §26-18-7. If the answer is yes, the court must then inquire whether all viable alternatives to termination have been considered.

Here’s the relevant text of §26-18-7:

§ 26-18-7. Termination of parental rights

(a) If the court finds from clear and convincing evidence, competent, material and relevant in nature, that the parents of a child are unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child, or that the conduct or condition of the parents is such as to render them unable to properly care for the child and that such conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, it may terminate the parental rights of the parents. In determining whether or not the parents are unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child, the court shall consider, and in cases of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights may consider, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) That the parents have abandoned the child, provided that in such cases, proof shall not be required of reasonable efforts to prevent removal or reunite the child with the parents.

(2) Emotional illness, mental illness or mental deficiency of the parent, or excessive use of alcohol or controlled substances, of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to care for needs of the child.

(3) That the parent has tortured, abused, cruelly beaten or otherwise maltreated the child, or attempted to torture, abuse, cruelly beat, or otherwise maltreat the child, or the child is in clear and present danger of being thus tortured, abused, cruelly beaten, or otherwise maltreated as evidenced by such treatment of a sibling.

(4) Conviction of and imprisonment for a felony.

(5) Unexplained serious physical injury to the child under such circumstances as would indicate that such injuries resulted from the intentional conduct or willful neglect of the parent.

(6) That reasonable efforts by the Department of Human Resources or licensed public or private child care agencies leading toward the rehabilitation of the parents have failed.

(7) That the parent has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of any of the following:

a. Murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of that parent.

b. Aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of that parent.

c. A felony assault or abuse which results in serious bodily injury to the surviving child or another child of that parent. The term “serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which involves substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

(8) That parental rights to a sibling of the child have been involuntarily terminated.

(b) Where a child is not in the physical custody of its parent or parents appointed by the court, the court, in addition to the foregoing, shall also consider, but is not limited to the following:

(1) Failure by the parents to provide for the material needs of the child or to pay a reasonable portion of its support, where the parent is able to do so.

(2) Failure by the parents to maintain regular visits with the child in accordance with a plan devised by the department, or any public or licensed private child care agency, and agreed to by the parent.

(3) Failure by the parents to maintain consistent contact or communication with the child.

(4) Lack of effort by the parent to adjust his circumstances to meet the needs of the child in accordance with agreements reached, including agreements reached with local departments of human resources or licensed child-placing agencies, in an administrative review or a judicial review.

(c) In any case where the parents have abandoned a child and such abandonment continues for a period of six months next preceding the filing of the petition, such facts shall constitute a rebuttable presumption that the parents are unable or unwilling to act as parents. Nothing in this subsection is intended to prevent the filing of a petition in an abandonment case prior to the end of the four-month period.

The mother in P.H. was of below normal intelligence with an eighth grade education and little or no family resources on which she could call for help. The appeals court described at length, however, the many changes the mother had made in her work schedule and lifestyle so she could be a more effective parent, as well as the counseling she had used.

We note that a court should terminate parental rights in only the most egregious circumstances because those rights, once terminated, cannot be reinstated. V.M. v. State Dep’t of Human Res., 710 So. 2d 915, 921 (Ala. Civ. App. 1998); and S.M.W. v. J.M.C., 679 So. 2d 256, 258 (Ala. Civ. App. 1996).

As to the father, however, the appeals court found that the juvenile court’s judgment terminating his parental rights was supported by clear and convincing evidence and was no plainly and palpably wrong. Specifically, the appeals court dispensed with the father’s argument (a) that there was not clear and convincing evidence that the child was dependent (the father had been convicted of domestic violence against the child’s half brothers); (b) that the juvenile court failed to consider alternatives to termination, including placing the child with the paternal grandparents (juvenile court had already made a finding of fact that living with the paternal grandparents posed a real ande present danger to the child; and (c) that the juvenile court’s judgment was not supported by clear and convincing evidence of any of the factors listed in §26-18-7 (the list by its terms is not exclusive, and the juvenile court had sufficient evidence from which it could have concluded that the statutory standard was satisfied).

We note that the juvenile court’s judgment terminating the father’s parental rights specifically found that the father was unfit; that he was unwilling to change his habits; that he was non-rehabilitated; and that the “safety and welfare of any child would be threatened in his care.”

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246 thoughts on “What Does It Take To Terminate Parental Rights?”

  1. I have a 15 year old son that I would like to voluntarily give up parental rights to. My son has taken me through so much in the last 3 years that I almost feel as I am about to loose it. The stuff that has been done is not ordinary teenager stuff. He has stolen 3 televisions from my home, playstation 3, 2 playstation 2, ipod, laptop, all of my jewelry, wii, about 80 plus games etc, etc etc…he kicks my door in and this has happened numerous of times and each time he does something I have to pay 250 court fee for stepping in the court room, I can not file the thefts on my insurance since he lives in my home and the insurance says it would be a liability and the rates would triple and they would have to drop me. He has kicked in the doors of others and burglarized their homes and I foot the bill for this as well. He has been locked up 7 times and as soon as he is let out he continues doing the same thing over and over. I have lost a great job and have had a car reposessed since I lost my job due to the burden he has put me in. I am not sure what to do…The system is no help..Please any advise would be appreciated

    1. Have you ever thought that maybe he is acting like this because its the only way he gets a reaction from you and he doesnt care if its negative or not?! Put yourself in his shoes and dont give up on your kid!

    2. People that say be a better parent have not gone through what you’ve gone through. I’m sure you’ve been the best parent you can be. Consider his age. Get therapy. There are mental health places you can send them to for a period of time. See if that can get to the root of why he acts out. If that doesn’t help and you’re at your wits end. Then do what’s. Best for you. Because it’s not going to stop. He is going to continue no matter what you do.

  2. I have a 2 year old (soon to be 3 in 2 months)…his bio father pays child support and been paying since my son turned 1.. But hasn’t had any contact with him at all. Is there a way I can get his rights terminated? I do have someone available to adopt. I feel he only pays child support because its garnished, not because he wants to. Is there any way to get his rights terminated?

  3. Only with Dad’s consent, Neecee. As long as he is paying support, no judge I know would terminate his rights, even though he has no contact with the child.

    That having been said, most men I know who have no contact with a child would be delighted to give up their parental rights if it meant they are permanently released from any duty to pay child support. Have you simply asked him if he would be willing to step aside?

  4. He won’t terminate them out of being spiteful and it’s because of what I want. What are his chances of getting full/joint custody and visitation.?

  5. Visitation: excellent

    Joint custody: depends entirely on the judge. Some like joint custody and will always favor it. Some naturally gravitate to sole custody and reserve it for situations where both parents are requesting it.

    Sole custody: poor unless Dad’s able to show something you’re doing that’s harmful to the child, and particularly poor when Dad’s chosen to have no contact with the child.

  6. My ex-husband owes over $12,000 in back child support. He was in jail for failure to pay from Dec. 2010-Aug. 2011. He was released on a payment agreement, but didn’t follow through. He currently has a warrant for his arrest. Deputies showed up at his home to arrest him, but he was at work. That was two weeks ago. He’s exercised all of his visitation until the warrant was issued. Last time, he was “sick.” Now, sometime within the last two weeks, he’s changed jobs and now works out of state on a boat, so basically, no one can get to him. He just didn’t show up for his visitation, no phone call or anything, until after my dad tried to contact him and his father. I’m at my wit’s end. As much as I need the support, I would rather have his rights terminated and never see a dime because he will end up emotionally harming my child. What are my chances?

  7. If this continues, your chances will get very good. But it takes a period of 6-18 months of no contact, no support, and most judges I know will refuse unless you have a new daddy ready, able, and willing to step in and take responsibility as the child’s legal father.

  8. I have a 5 year old daughter. Her father has not laid eyes on her or spoke with her in almost a year. He has never given me a dime to help care for her, but he was never put on child support and he is not listed on the birth certificate. I would like to see about terminating his rights, but I have no one available to adopt. My main concern is that if anything were to happen to me, I fear he would step in and try to take her away from the only family she knows. He would do that just out of spite. Is there any way that I can stop this from happening? I have no will, but even if I did, would that even matter in this circumstance?

  9. I think this is one of those situations where a will can be a huge help. I would get with a real lawyer who charges by the hour, explain your concern, and get the lawyer to draw up a will that clarifies that your daughter has no relationship with bioDad and that Aunt Sue is the only other parent she’s ever known. Ask the lawyer, but I’ve had a couple of clients in your position actually record a video statement as well, on the theory that it communicates better than a writing ever could the very human challenge the judge might face if bioDad comes forward and asks for your daughter to live with him.

    In the video and in all the materials you produce related to this, you would want to confine your statements SOLELY to bioDad’s relationship with your daughter. Remember, you won’t be around to explain or be cross-examined if this is ever needed, so this is your one chance to appear calm, level-headed, and focused solely on your daughter’s well-being. He may be generally a sorry, good-for-nothing ne’er-do-well, but calling him such in this context would hurt more than it would help.

  10. I have 2 daughters who are 4 and their father has seen them a total of 5 times ever. The last time being December of last yr. he has asked for custody and visitation of them and I agreed to it but he has yet to see them. Now he’s demanding I tell him where they are at all times and wants to know everything that is going on. He still will not see them but I’m afraid he is going to try to take them without my knowledge just because he can. He pays cs but it’s court ordered garnishments. What are the chances of me getting his rights removed and what would I need to do to get this accomplished?

  11. I have a 4 year old son that I pay $800+ a month in child support for. I try my best to see him every chance i get, it has been hard due to me being in the military and numerous deployments. He lives in Alabama and I currently live in NC scheduled for another deployment. His mother has not let me talk to him or see him since he was 1 she continuely moves and changes phones number to stay away from me. When I finally get in contact she usually replies “I only wanted the money he doesnt need you around.’ Do I have a leg to stand on when it comes to signing over my parental rights?

  12. I have a 13 month old daughter and her biological dad is in prison. Before he got sent to prison he was in and out of jail. My daught has only been in his presence twice. Once when she was two wks old and I let him see her when she was maybe four months old. Both times did not go well…reason being he is a drug addict. I didnt want my daughter around that so I haven’t let him see her. She’s now a year old and the Only father she knows is my boyfriend who came intothe picture when she was six months old. He and I have been talking about marriage and he’s thrown out there a couple times that he wants to adopt my daughter. How do we go about that? Her donors name is not on the birth certificate. Can we just add his name to it without doing a DNA test? Does the donor have any rights to her? If so how can I have those terminated?? The donor has six kids and myself and the other mothers would all like to know this. He has not taken care of any of them. He’s a drug addict and only knows prison life. Help please.

  13. No, you can’t simply add someone’s name as father without a court order, and that’s going to require DNA testing. And you can’t dangle the elimination of child support as an incentive because he’s not paying child support anyway. I’m sorry.

  14. I’m not dangling anything. I do noT want anything from him…child support or anything. I’ve done fine so far without his help. I am trying to cut all ties… Tryingto keep my daughter safe from him. Does he hAve any legal rights to her?? Even if his name isn’t listed.

    I just want to know how can my boyfriend adopt her when we get married. Her biological dad has nothing to do with her or his other children And I dnt want him involved with my child.

  15. I need more information on DHR as pertains to the rights of a father. When DHR determines the mom is not suitable, what is DHR’s obligation when they have a choice of sending the children to the stable home of other family members where they already reside, as opposed to sending them off to their dad, the sperm donor, who has never paid a dime in child support, has spent little time with them, and is unable and unwilling to provide for his children, and his living arrangement would never meet the minimum standard of care of that of foster parents. How would one proceed to terminate the rights of the father, who cannot provide for them, will not provide for them, and DHR finds this preferable to returning to the home of relatives where they resided safely for more than a year. Does DHR also have the right to order family members to surrender property, clothing, and other basic necessities for the children because dead beat dad won’t or can’t provide such. Does dad not have to have a home study and meet the same requirements as that of a foster home?

  16. Cleanslate, I know you want to play like Daddy isn’t daddy and just ignore it. I don’t recommend it. At a minimum, you would be intentionally misleading the court. And you may be committing fraud on the court.

    Leslie, it comes down to the extent that DHR has made a factual finding that Dad “has never paid a dime in child support, has spent little time with them, and is unable and unwilling to provide for his children, and his living arrangement would never meet the minimum standard of care of that of foster parents.” If you want to show that Dad is unfit, you’ll need to demonstrate so to the court and to DHR. Barring that, the court will assume that a biological parent is the fit caretaker for the children.

  17. U are not giving me any info on how I could have my daughter adopted. Biologically he is her father but at the end of the day it takes more than sperm to classify him as her dad. I know she can be adopted by my boyfriend… When we get married. I just want to know how I can go about having it done. Scratch what I said about skipping the DNA test… Fine that can’t be done but how can I make my boyfriend legally her father. On birth certificate and last name…everything

    1. If There Is No FATHER information On The Birth Certificate It Can Be Done….!
      Just Have Boyfriend Sign The Birth Certificate. Thats It..

    1. No Concent Needed … I Did It My Husband Reconized My Daughter… All He Had To Do Was Sign… Thats All..
      When There Is No Bio-Father on The Birth Certificate , there Is No Problem… All You To Is Go To The Local Vital Stadistic To Sign..

  18. I have a 4 year old son that I pay $800+ a month in child support for. I try my best to see him every chance i get, it has been hard due to me being in the military and numerous deployments. He lives in Alabama and I currently live in NC scheduled for another deployment. His mother has not let me talk to him or see him since he was 1 she continuely moves and changes phones number to stay away from me. When I finally get in contact she usually replies “I only wanted the money he doesnt need you around.’ Do I have a leg to stand on when it comes to signing over my parental rights?

  19. I would think your chances would be extremely poor, but you have a really good chance of forcing Mom to make your son available to you for visitation. And if the court decides Mom’s lack of cooperation amounts to contempt of court, you might also force her to pay your legal fees.

  20. There is a girl that is pregnant accusing me of being the father. Im not 100% sure if it mine or not, but this girl wants me to have nothing to do with the kid if it is mine. She has said she wants me to have nothing to do with her or the baby, she said she only wants my money. I am 18 and I have seizers which makes me legally not aloud to work. So just on the incase, is there anyway I can sign my parential rights over to her without her wanting me to? I live in Alabama.

  21. I suggest you take it one step at a time. When the baby is here and healthy with a Social Security number, get a DNA test so you know for sure whether it’s your child. If it is, you’re the Daddy and will remain so unless and until you and Mom both want you not to be AND there’s a new daddy ready, able, and willing to step into your place.

  22. My husband has Primary Physical Custody of my stepson, and my stepson’s mother has partial because of her supervised visits. She is not doing well during her visitations, the person the courts have supervising the visitations has to keep redirecting her attention back on the children, and she basically doesn’t want to do anything with them. My stepson’s Guardian Ad Litem said that if this continues they will move to TPR. What are my chances of StepParent Adoption. We are in Pennsylvania.

  23. I don’t have any guess. I wouldn’t rush it if I were you, if you have a guardian ad litem talking seriously about terminating Mom’s rights, that’s far more powerful than anything you or Dad could do.

    The one thing Dad could do if Mom is able to work is to keep up the pressure for Mom to pay child support. The possibility of relief from that obligation might reduce Mom’s natural resistance to termination.

  24. My son just turned 5 & hasn’t seen his biological donor since he was less than 1. Bio father is drug addict who has since I escaped him, been to prison, been arrested on a new felony theft charge for stealing a gun, been in multiple drug treatment centers but always leaves early for one reason or another. My son is told he had a different dad when he was born but he did bad things &I had to make him leave. I’ve never said he was a bad person bc I don’t want my son to think he is part bad. I remarried & my son adopted my husband (he called him by name & then a year plus later began to call him Dad, we never started or stopped it). My ex was abusive & when I divorced him, he had no visitation or child support. His rights are not terminated but we want to terminate them &my husband adopt him legally. Protection from abuse order expired long ago & biological has still never tried to contact me. Grandparent sees my son but is huge enabler so only when bio father is not around. We are in Alabama. How do we go about terminating his rights & my husband adopting my son?

  25. My guess is your obstacle is not Dad but the grandparent. The best way I know to get Dad to agree is to go after him in a big way for child support and then make him an offer he can’t refuse.

  26. Not sure if that would work, his 16 year old dahughter already has him very behind & when he does get in trouble for it, his Dad bails him out by any means necessary. I fear him saying no &to trying for visitation, he’s a gifted manipulator.

  27. My son is 5 his father is not on the bc and has not seen him since he was 1 he has a documented mental problem has been in and out of the mental hos. and in and out of jail and prison I live in alabama he has schizophrena biopolar disorder. He refuses to pay child support thats ordered by the state and lives in florida I cant get his address and he will not contact me back. while he was in prison I had adoption papers drawn up and mailed to the prison he threw them away. I have been married to my husband for 3 years and he has been in our sons life since he was 1 1/2 years old we have 1 bio son together and want to adopt our oldest. how can I go about terminating bio dads rights?

  28. Gather up and arrange the dates, sequence, etc. into a clear, organized timetable. Include every recent contact Dad has had with the child as well as every recent gift, no matter how trivial. Then you and your husband take it together to an experienced adoption lawyer. Hubby needs to pay. If he’s not willing to pay to become Daddy, he probably doesn’t need to be Daddy.

  29. I have a 3 year old son. I was never married to his father but his name is on the birth certificate. we lived together but we split up before my son was even one year old. He rarely kept scheduled visitations. I got DHR involved a little over a year ago and his wages were garnished for a couple of months until he was terminated for refusing a drug test. About six months ago, he moved to Texas. We live in Alabama. He calls but hardly asks about our son. My husband wants to adopt but my sons father refuses to sign his rights away though he doesnt see, talk to, or support the child in any way. My husband has been the provider and even has my son on his insurance. What can I do about taking parental rights from the bio and my husband adopting?

  30. My 5yr old son has always lived with me, he has speech disability and has only seen his bio couple times in last few years.. them times his bio and girlfriend fight and put my son in harms way.. he is roffered supervised visits but makes no effort to exercise it he won’t sign rights off outa spite my son knows him as a guy and my husband as his dad..his bio has a history of domestic and abuse towards my other kids and use to stalk me til i got married and moved..he tells dhs i won’t make effort in his visits ummm i offer them not my problem he dnt show..also a big drinker.. do u think dhs can or will help terminate his rights my husband will gladly adopt

  31. Find a family lawyer in your area who has good experience with step-parent adoptions. Be prepared when you visit with the lawyer with a chronological log from the day your son was born showing every contact he has had with his son, and every financial contribution he has made of any kind to your son. Note all calls to you or to your husband should be on the log, but note whether he made any attempt to contact his son. Armed with this information, the lawyer will help you build a road map to the point at which, if Dad’s no contact/no support behavior has continued, the lawyer will be ready to recommend that you file to terminate Dad’s rights so hubby can take them on.

  32. I live in AL and am a remarried father of a 14 y/o & a 12 y/o. I have had custody since their mother and I divorced 11 years ago. Their diagnosed bi-polar mother moved to another state 7+ hours away over 5 years ago but maintained fairly consistent visitations until the last year or so. In July of last year, their mother told me she would let my current wife adopt them. A few months later my attorney drew up an agreement where she waived all rights to visitation, and I waived all rights to collection of child support. She also agreed to take all steps necessary for my wife to adopt the children. Our family court judge ratified this agreement. Is there a template, in the form of a motion that I can complete, send to my ex-wife to execute and notarize then submit to the court to have her parental rights terminated?

  33. This is not my area, and I will confess that I’ve never handled an adoption, but I have a layman’s impression that all this happens naturally during the adoption process, so I’m not aware of any separate document for termination of parental rights.

  34. My daughter’s father and I were never married. He has not seen her in more than a year, and last night was the first time he has (out of court) spoken to me in nearly a year. He has no job, and has not had one for at least two years (I believe). We have never had a custody hearing, and she lives with me full time. His parents’ never ask to see her, and do not communicate with me either. I filed contempt when he failed to pay child support, and he was ordered on 2/12/2013 to pay $1,000 or go to jail, and he got the money from someone to avoid jail time. Out of necessity, I have changed jobs to maintain the ability to financially provide for my daughter for nearly everything. Her father contacted me last night in such a way I think he wants to terminate his paternity because he is beyond reason unable to get a job, and periodically telling a woman I know that he wants to kill himself because he is so depressed. He lives at home with his parents and is nearly thirty years old. I am fine with him terminating because I don’t have a single grain of trust in him as an adult, let alone as her father. I am getting married in June, but I would rather have my daughter as solely my daughter (legal obligation wise) instead of having to go through an adoption process. I went through DHR to get child support, and since I don’t NEED his money, and she doesn’t know him, I am fine cutting ties. I think it’s for the best for her since he is so incapable of achieveing any degree of success even for him self. Is it possible for him to terminate his rights at this point? Also, what will happen? Will I be responsible for court fees repaying DHR or anything like that? I’m in Alabama.

  35. I don’t know your judge, of course, but most judges would be reluctant to bastardize a child (which would be the result of terminating Dad’s parental rights without having another father step in to act as daddy). Find a good adoption lawyer in your area and ask. My guess is that you won’t be able to do what you want, but you won’t know until you ask.

  36. Thank you. I’ve been holding back on talking to a lawyer because I’m scared of how much it will wind up costing me. :/

  37. I have a 3 year old daughter who receives child support from her biological father through DHR. I have recently become engaged to another man and now her father is wanting to give up his rights to my daughter in order to not have to pay child support to me anymore now that I am with someone. He says it is my fiancee and I’s responsibility to care for her and that my fiancee can just adopt her. Can he legally do this? Also, is this something that he can go through DHR for or something that he would have to get a lawyer for? Thanks so much.

  38. Dad is daddy. He doesn’t get to stop being daddy just because somebody else is married to mama. If your new husband later really REALLY wants to be daddy, you can talk about it, but I think that’s way too much pressure to put on the first years of a marriage. And no, just to be very clear, it is NOT your fiancee’s responsibility to care for somebody else’s daughter. That’s what mommies and daddies are for.

  39. I have been divorced since 01/2006. My ex husband and I have two children together, and in the 7 years and 2 months we have been divorced he has not seen my kids but once. No one in his family has any contact with either of the kids. My children tell anyone who asks that their grandfather, my father, is their father. My ex does pay child support, but only because it is garnished from his paycheck. My son recently got his birth fathers phone number from his step sister and called him to ask him to let my father, his grandfather, adopt him. I’m not sure if that is possible. I don’t want to give up my rights as their mother, but my children want my father to adopt them in the event that something happened to me they wouldn’t have to go and live with their birth father. My question is this: A) what do I need to do if my ex has agreed to give up his parental rights, and B) can my father legally adopt my children without me losing my parental rights?

  40. Talk to an experienced adoption lawyer who practices in your area. There are several steps to take, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but your parental rights will not be compromised by a transfer of parental rights from your Ex to your father.

  41. I have 3 kids 13, 11, and 7 and there bio dad has been charged with 8 felonies, has meth and theft charges on him. Owes right at $47k in child support, no contact with kids in about 3 years. I am married now and he would like to adobt kids….what are our chances of getting rights terminated?

  42. My son is 3 years old and his father and I were never married. He has only seen him about 5 times and most recently over a year ago and a year before that . He never pays child support on a consistent basis even though its court ordered(that was when he was in the military , he has since been discharged and they havent been able to direct deposit it out of his check). He has finally said he would voluntarily terminate his rights. What would be the process to this ?? Since he lives out of state could it be as easy as getting an order sent to him and him getting it notarized ? Also my new husband has been there since day one and wants to adopt would we wait till the rights are terminated to do this or would we will need the biological fathers permission to adopt ??

  43. lovemykids, if BioDad has had no contact and no support for three years, you and your husband should be able to get his parental rights if your husband makes it clear to the court that he is ready, willing, and able to step in and become their legal father. Just make sure he knows that his marriage to you may end, but his role as the children’s father is permanent.

    Elizabeth, rather than basing this on BioDad’s willingness to terminate, you probably would be on firmer footing if you base it on no contact, no support coupled with having a new Dad standing ready to step into BioDad’s shoes. Remember that, from the court’s perspective, it doesn’t matter so much what the parents desire or are willing to do. What matters is what course would be in the best interests of the child.

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