Hello, I am a 23 y/o single parent to a 3 1/2 year old girl.
My question is this: how to do I go about terminating her father's parental rights?
I have been a single parent since she was born. He signed her birth certificate and acknowledged paternity when she was born in 7-03. In NC, when parents are not married, they are also required to sign an "affidavit of parentage."
I've had a child support order in effect since March 2004. He has never paid it; I've established full physical custody, he has no visitation rights (this is stated in the court order) and was ordered to pay $50 per month in CS. He is constantly ordered to go to court for nonpayment - he usually does not show up, then he is arrested for failure to appear, and once arrested, released and told to "go find a job" (he states that he is unemployed and unable to pay anything towards child support). From my understanding, usually a "purge amount" is set that is required to be paid before an inmate is released from jail re: non payment of child support. However, he always manages to be release without payment.
I was able to establish child support and formalize custody by filing my own paperwork through the family court offices. I am not on assistance and work to support us, but I was unable to afford an atty when establishing child support back then, and am unable to do so now. I have called several attys to ask re: termination, but of course they want to schedule consultations and I just can't do that. There's a legal office that offers legal services for free or reduced fees, but I am told that they do not take these types of cases.
We're much better off without him. He's been abusive and has a very long, violent history with such, various drugs charges, etc. I had a restraining order against him for over a year. I do not want him around, nor does he have any desire to be there. The research I've done states that under North Carolina law, rights can be terminated due to abandonment or failure to support or maintain contact with the child, which is obviously the case here. I am positive he wouldn't sign over his rights voluntarily - not because he wants to have a relationship with her, he'd only do it because it was something *I* wanted and he would just want to be as difficult as possible.
Does anyone know if this is something I can do on my own? Or do I have to go through an atty? I was just hoping there was a cheaper or free option ...
Any help or advice anyone has would be greatly appreciated.
Imani's momWhat is the name of your state?