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  1. #1
    mybabyimani is offline Junior Member
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    Termination of Parental Rights (in NC)

    Terminating Parental Rights in North Carolina (how to)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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.

    Thanks ...

    Imani's momWhat is the name of your state?
  2. #2
    ceara19 is offline Senior Member
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    Just because the law allows for a parents rights to be terminated on the grounds of abandonment, that in no way means that the court will actually GRANT the TPR. Although you are financially caring for the child on your without any type of assistance NOW, doesn't guarantee that you will NEVER need government assistance.

    Courts are generally reluctant to terminate a parents rights unless they pose a PROVEN danger to the child or there is a step parent willing to adopt. If something happens and you need state assistance at some point, the state will want to recoup their money from the absent parent. They can't do that if his rights have been terminated.

    You have full custody and a restraining order against him. If your court order actually states that he is to have no visitation with the child, it will be very difficult for him to change that unless he deals with whatever problems he has that lead the Judge to order no visitation in the first place. What are you hoping to accomplish by terminating his rights?
  3. #3
    mybabyimani is offline Junior Member
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    I no longer have a restraining order, it's expired. He was in jail when it was time to renew it (ironically enough, did almost a year for violating the order over 50x), and because he was in jail, the judge said he posed no threat to me, so he chose not to renew.

    I'm tired of having to go back and forth to court over child support. In the last 2 years, I've had to take a total of 24 days off for various court dates - all of which are postponed. He shows, he doesn't show, either way -- he manages to get out of it - this is a complete and total waste of my time. I'll never get any money. I'm not even worried about the money ... It's totally unfair that I am the one made to suffer, since he can work the system to his advantage. The court is overrun with deadbeat dads and child support cases ....

    I'm tired of his harrassment. When he feels the urge, he'll call -- I came in to work one day to 69 missed calls on my voicemail (he does not have a home or cell # for me anymore) but he doesn't want to see his daughter -- it's always, "I miss you, when can I see you." He doesn't care about her -- he chooses not to take care of her as a way of getting back at me. He's almost 38 years old - if he isn't grown up now, he never will be. I don't like the fact that he can call me whenever he wants to - despite the fact that I've had a protective order in the past, it's impossible to get one now unless he threatens me (or her) with bodily harm or physical violence. When he harrasses -- calls constantly or stops by the house drunk whenever he feels like it -- I can't keep him from doing it. I can't get a restraining order just because he bothers me. The system doesn't work like that. Why should we have to put up with BS just because he enjoys making life difficult for me?

    I don't want him to have any rights to her. I don't want him to all of a sudden change his mind and say, "Nya doesn't want me to see the baby, so I think I'm going to try for visitation ... " He'd probably get it, despite his violent past, the only reason the judge granted no visitation is because I asked for it, and he didn't show up to court that day, so he wasn't able to protest it. He's the type of person that would do something like that just to be difficult.

    I've been seeing someone for over two years and eventually we plan to be married. Maybe it will be within the next year, maybe it will be after I finish my Master's. I'm not sure. But I'd like for him to be able to adopt her when the time comes.

    I understand that just because I want his rights terminated, and he's proven that he's completely not interested in being a father, that I might not necessarily get what I want. But that doesn't mean I don't want to try -- I know this is the right thing for my daughter. In this county, I've had some amazing judges when I've gone to court, and I've some horrible judges. I know it's up to them. But I trust that God will do the right thing for us - maybe it's what I want, but maybe it's not. I'm prepared to deal with whatever happens - but I at least want to try.
  4. #4
    Blue Meanie is offline Senior Member
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    [url]http://library.adoption.com/termination-of-parental-rights/grounds-for-termination-of-parental-rights-north-carolina/article/8623/1.html[/url]
  5. #5
    ceara19 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mybabyimani View Post
    I no longer have a restraining order, it's expired. He was in jail when it was time to renew it (ironically enough, did almost a year for violating the order over 50x), and because he was in jail, the judge said he posed no threat to me, so he chose not to renew.

    I'm tired of having to go back and forth to court over child support. In the last 2 years, I've had to take a total of 24 days off for various court dates - all of which are postponed. He shows, he doesn't show, either way -- he manages to get out of it - this is a complete and total waste of my time. I'll never get any money. I'm not even worried about the money ... It's totally unfair that I am the one made to suffer, since he can work the system to his advantage. The court is overrun with deadbeat dads and child support cases ....
    If you aren't concerned about the child support, stop taking time off for the hearings. If the case is going through your state's child support enforcement office, they will have a representative at the hearings to protect the best interests of your daughter.

    I'm tired of his harrassment. When he feels the urge, he'll call -- I came in to work one day to 69 missed calls on my voicemail (he does not have a home or cell # for me anymore) but he doesn't want to see his daughter -- it's always, "I miss you, when can I see you." He doesn't care about her -- he chooses not to take care of her as a way of getting back at me. He's almost 38 years old - if he isn't grown up now, he never will be. I don't like the fact that he can call me whenever he wants to - despite the fact that I've had a protective order in the past, it's impossible to get one now unless he threatens me (or her) with bodily harm or physical violence. When he harasses -- calls constantly or stops by the house drunk whenever he feels like it -- I can't keep him from doing it. I can't get a restraining order just because he bothers me. The system doesn't work like that. Why should we have to put up with BS just because he enjoys making life difficult for me?
    You shouldn't have to put up with his harassment. However, terminating his parental rights won't make him stop calling.

    I don't want him to have any rights to her. I don't want him to all of a sudden change his mind and say, "Nya doesn't want me to see the baby, so I think I'm going to try for visitation ... " He'd probably get it, despite his violent past, the only reason the judge granted no visitation is because I asked for it, and he didn't show up to court that day, so he wasn't able to protest it. He's the type of person that would do something like that just to be difficult.
    If the Judge would probably give him visitation if he asked, that same Judge isn't going to terminate his rights based on his failure to pay child support.

    I've been seeing someone for over two years and eventually we plan to be married. Maybe it will be within the next year, maybe it will be after I finish my Master's. I'm not sure. But I'd like for him to be able to adopt her when the time comes.

    I understand that just because I want his rights terminated, and he's proven that he's completely not interested in being a father, that I might not necessarily get what I want. But that doesn't mean I don't want to try -- I know this is the right thing for my daughter. In this county, I've had some amazing judges when I've gone to court, and I've some horrible judges. I know it's up to them. But I trust that God will do the right thing for us - maybe it's what I want, but maybe it's not. I'm prepared to deal with whatever happens - but I at least want to try.
    If you want to have any real chance at having his rights terminated for abandonment, without having a step parent adopt the child, you are going to need an attorney. Personally, I would save my money and wait until AFTER you have been married for at least a year and are ready to proceed with an adoption. Trying to terminate his rights at this point will most likely be nothing more then a waste of your time and money.
  6. #6
    Grace_Adler is offline Senior Member
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    Ok, at the risk of repeating myself.. (And I have had experience with this)

    In NC, it does not matter if there is a stepparent willing to adopt or not. You can do a TPR without an adoption and it is not hard.

    As long as you have grounds to file, that's all that matters, and you do, so there is no reason why they won't grant the TPR. The statutes say, 1 year of no support or 6 mo with no contact ( and NO paying support IS NOT contact) whichever one you want to use, or both, is grounds to terminate his rights.

    Also, it is done before the Clerk of Court.

    You can go to the courthouse or look online, I'll come back with a link that may help. You petition the court for the TPR. Then you have to have him served. If he can't be located, that's also grounds to terminate but you have to run a publication in the newspaper for a certain amount of time, I can't remember how long it's for but it's in the NC General Statutes, I'll also provide that link when I come back. You also have to calendar a court date. You'll just have to pay the filing fees for this, which isn't too expensive.

    Also, most judges I've seen will either let you make a payment arrangement on arrears for support, but usually they won't agree unless you bring some money in towards it. Or they often sentence the person to jail for 30 days or until they purge themselves. So, is it possible that he is staying in for 30 days? He can then get out or the judge could bring them right back to court if they want and see if they've complied, and if they haven't they can send them right back to jail. They can do this for up to a year or until they comply. But usually I think they just release them at the end of 30 days if they haven't paid.

    Be aware that once you terminate his rights, you can never file for support again in the future and this support order will be closed. Although, he'll still owe any arrears, unless you choose to forgive them and have a court order stating so. Or if there was any money owed to the state, he has to pay that.
  7. #7
    Grace_Adler is offline Senior Member
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    Scroll down to article 11.

    [url]http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0007B[/url]

    Here are some links I thought you might want to review.. of course there are others but I thought you might want to review these first.

    Petition or motion.

    [url]http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_7B/GS_7B-1104.html[/url]


    Issuance of Summons

    [url]http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_7B/GS_7B-1106.html[/url]

    If he does not respond to the court with a written answer within 30 days of the petition being filed, then his rights may be terminated.

    Failure of parent to answer or respond.

    [url]http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_7B/GS_7B-1107.html[/url]

    Grounds for termination.

    [url]http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_7B/GS_7B-1111.html[/url]

    Effects of termination order.

    [url]http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_7B/GS_7B-1112.html[/url]

    I'm not saying, yes they will definitely terminate his rights.. after they determine if grounds exist, they will also then look at other factors, like mentioned.. possible future adoption.. not it's not necessary to have one done to do a TPR, but they *may* bring it up, the relationship with the other parent, which is pretty much non-existent, whether the tpr will aid in the permanent plan for the juvenile, quality of relationship between you and the child, age of child.. But since you are showing a stable home, you're pursuing a Master's, you're not on state aid, and he's spent a lot of time behind bars and probably will continue to do so, fails to pay support and has no relationship to speak of, I would say you're chances are good... but that's just me.. I don't want to get your hopes up. And he could always decide to show up to the hearing and object to it. So....

    I don't know if these websites have the forms you need, you can look and see, or you can check with the Clerk of Court..

    [url]www.nccourts.org[/url]

    [url]http://info.dhhs.state.nc.us/olm/forms/forms.aspx?dc=dss[/url]

    Hope this helps.

    Oh yeah, if he'll agree to it, it would go smoother if he consented to it.
    Last edited by Grace_Adler; 02-06-2007 at 05:13 PM.
  8. #8
    mybabyimani is offline Junior Member
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    thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate the links you gave me ... I haven't had a chance to go through them all, but I will be researching them tomorrow. You have relaly given me hope and I can't tell you how much it means to me. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this. It truly touched me.
  9. #9
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mybabyimani View Post
    thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate the links you gave me ... I haven't had a chance to go through them all, but I will be researching them tomorrow. You have relaly given me hope and I can't tell you how much it means to me. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this. It truly touched me.
    I would also suggest you read IN THE MATTER OF: KRISTINA TAYLOR LINDSEY PIERCE before you start doing cartwheels.
  10. #10
    Grace_Adler is offline Senior Member
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    I don't understand. I don't understand the point of this case and it's relevance to her and her case? DSS was involved, she was using drugs and failed to show progress on stipulations imposed on her and they were able to terminate her rights based on several statutes. This is between a parent trying to terminate another parent's rights and DSS isn't involved. The circumstances surrounding the case don't appear relevant. Also, with previous cases, they are simply used for arguments for both sides to try to win a case and a judge can choose not to follow it if he/she sees fit and usually they will disclose why they do not see its relevance in their opinion, and therefore, they are not bound to follow it. I'm sure there are plenty of other cases out there that would also support her side, as well as those out there that wouldn't. For every case you find for one side, there is another to use to debate against it for each side. So.. I don't get it?

    ** I see where the Court of Appeals reversed the decision and of course, the father has every right to contest the termination and appeal any decision made.. so it's good to go into that knowing that can happen and there are no guarantees. So, I'm guessing that's the message. LOL

    Oh, mybaby... you're welcome. I mean, like we said.. no guarantees here, so don't get your hopes too high but you have some stuff to go with now if you want to try but it could go either way, just depending what all happens.
    Last edited by Grace_Adler; 02-08-2007 at 10:34 PM.

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