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Question about terminating paternal rights?

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Junior Member
Hi everyone.. I live in Arizona... And I really don't know where to turn at the moment. I stumbled across this site and was hoping I could find some insight on how to proceed with my situation. I don't know how much or how little detail to include, so I guess I'll try to find a middle ground...

Several years ago I met a man and we causally started dating. It was short lived, we kept in touch though he did eventually go back to his child's mom, and they ended up pregnant again (which I was unaware of at the time, also apparently when we first started dating he was still with her, also completely unknown to me!) and ended up breaking up. She was early in her pregnancy when he and I began dating again, and foolishly got married after just a few weeks. I was young, but old enough that I should have known better to do something so stupid, but I was aware of the fact that he was a hardcore drug (crack/meth) addict. I was also aware that he had been to prison for awhile (he told me he got caught on a small pot charge which turned out to be a gigantic lie, and had been in and out of juvy/prison his whole life basically). Naturally he promised he would quit for me... Blah blah blah, basically everything I wanted to hear and believe, none of which, I would come to find out the hard way, was the truth.

Anyways, I'll try to skip most of the details, but if necessary, I can provide more info, just dont want to turn this into a novel. So pretty much from day 1 he was stepping out on me, buying and selling drugs, sleeping with other women, you name it, he did it... But for some ridiculous reason I thought i was in love... So about 6 weeks after the wedding he got arrested for an array of charges, including credit card fraud, burglary, theft, trafficking stolen property, etc. Then I made the single best and worst decision of my entire life.. I worked 3 jobs to get him out of jail.... I got pregnant immediately after he was out on bail, and now have a toddler. Paternity is not a question whatsoever, he is on the birth certificate. He, however, could have cared less, and was back to his old habits basically his first day out of jail... I stuck around for a couple of months - I'd pretty much lost all of my friends and family by that point, understandably so... It was horrible. He would leave for weeks in MY car, when I would get home from work (serving, cash tips) he would take ALL the $ no matter where I hid it (I couldn't use my bank account any longer since he had overdrawn my account by over $1500). So pretty much for the first 2 months of my pregnancy the only time I would eat was while I was at work because there was no food in the house because he would steal all the $ to support his crack habit. I lost over 25 pounds during my first semester of pregnancy. He did get somewhat violent with me on at least 1 occasion while pregnant... I'm not talking beating me and throwing me down stairs, but he threw me up against a wall where i couldnt breathe for a couple of seconds.... I finally had enough and left him around 2.5 months. He harassed me nonstop 24/7 once i left and went home to my mom. he would leave threatening messages, show up wherever i was, call literally HUNDREDS of times daily....

he tried to sober up, moved into a halfway house and started going to meetings. that lasted... 3 weeks until he got kicked out for dirty UA. He then lost his job where he had a decent salary ($60k/year) to be a homeless man on the street. All the while he never once supported his other children in any way, shape or form. Amazingly enough, despite an incredibly stressful and high-risk pregnancy I delivered a happy, healthy child. He showed up to the hospital high as a kite with this bizarre and erratic behavior, wanted to hold the baby, etc. he couldnt even hold still long enough to look at the baby. He then passed out and slept for a solid 24 hours in the hospital, where he was basically dead to the entire world because he had probably been up for days... snoring so loudly he kept both the baby and i awake.. i finally snapped and told him to get out and not come back.

when my son was a week old his criminal trial began, it lasted a week and he was found guilty of all charges. He didnt turn himself in, and was on the run for about 6-8 weeks, every day his usual intoxicated rants, begging to see the baby, threatening me if i didnt, blah blah. I will admit at first I was wishy wasy after the baby was born - I was scared of being a single parent, totally responsible for this person, with no help from the dad, etc... In retrospect im horrified by that and dont understand myself at all! Regardless, he was sentenced to 6.5 years and is now serving his time in the state prison.

We are still legally married, though it has been over 2 years since i left him. Honestly the divorce has always been a low priority to me, mostly because I've been too busy raising my son as a single parent and full-time student, and it is also very costly and I dont have the financial resources to get any help with it. It's like, I'd rather spend time being with my son than stressing about a divorce, even though I know I need to do it...

He still writes these completely insane letters.. Ive made it very clear that there is no chance we will be back together (thought i would have thought leaving was enough but apparently not)... But his letters say how much he loves me and cant wait to be a family again and then in the next sentence he threatens that if i dont send pictures of my baby that hes going to send some of the guys recently released from prison to take them from me... Just complely bizarre stuff like that. He is obviously unstable, he is a career criminal and admitted drug user since the age of 12, if not younger! Ive seen him interact with his other child when he was high, i've seen unsafe stuff within reach of his other child...

I can only plead stupidity. Honestly, I'm not a dumb girl I just made a VERY bad decision with him. I dont know what else to say about it, im embarassed by it.. but i wouldnt trade a single moment of it for my child.. hes the center of my universe and i would do ANYTHING for him... Ive never been in trouble with the law other than some minor traffic violations, i can hold a job for an extended period of time, and i am now back in school full time to better myself for my son. We aren't wealthy by any means, but we are making do. He has every single thing he needs provided to him and more "wants" than he knows what to do with. Also, another slightly potentially circumstance that may make a difference, is that my son has life threatening food allergies, which his father is always critical and mocking, saying how stupid i am for carrying around "that stupid shot thing" and that "nothing can hurt him hes MY son hes invincible" (what the heck?!?!).. I dont feel that my son would ever be safe with him with that attitude and knowing that EVERY thing he eats or comes in contact with must be monitored, especially at this age, because the wrong thing could be FATAL, and his father doesnt seem to understand OR care...

So i guess what im getting at... Is im just wondering if i have a valid case for trying to have a judge terminate his parental rights. I know im biased by being his mom, but my son is the most perfect thing in the universe to me, and the thought of his father ruining him like he has ruined everything else hes ever touched rips my heart out. he has nothing to offer my son but a lifetime of pain being in and out of his life when he is in and out of sobriety, work, prison. i love my son too much to allow that... he is such a spiteful person that he is already threatening to get custody when he is released from prison, and i dont want to live my life under that constant knowledge that at any moment the other show could drop, that that day may just be the day my battle begins...

I want his rights terminated, and I want it done now while hes locked up so he cant retaliate against either myself or my son... Hes not a father to his other children, and so far he's only seen my son twice. I spent my pregnancy alone (albeit harassed 24/7 by him), i delivered him alone, ive changed every diaper, given every bath, gone to every dr appointment.. I make his lunches and sit on the floor and crash hotwheels and fight dinosaurs and read books. And him? He's in prison... I know in my heart of hearts even when he does get out he will be back o his old ways in a short matter of time... but i just dont want him to have ANY opportunity to ruin my child... My boy doesn't deserve it... Do I stand a chance at getting a judge to terminate his paternity? He is too selfish to ever do the right thing for his children, he would NEVER voluntarily give his consent... I need help, I need to make sure that my child is as far away from that whole mess as humanly possible, for everyones sake. Any help and/or advice is greatly appreciated, I mean that from the bottom of my heart! Thank you all for taking the time to read our mini-novel!

Edited to add that in the past when we were still "together" he wasnt allowed to see his daughter (in retrospect i understand why!).. but he would often scheme and talk about kidnapping her and taking her away to mexico or somewhere else in central/south america... of course he expected me to just go along with it and be a happy little kidnappy family and all that nonsense. i NEVER would have done it and i mostly just chalked it up to just nonsense crackhead babblings and i never took him seriously. he never did act on it, but now that i know who he is and how he things, i am VERY scared for my son's safety.
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Queen Bee
No you don't have a reason for terminating his parental rights. You have no one to adopt him. He didn't commit a crime against the child. He has as much right to this child as you do quite frankly. He is the child's legal father and can show up at any time to claim HIS child -- be it at school, church, or wherever. As your husband and the child's father, you have nothing preventing him from doing so except him being in prison.

Get a divorce but realize thta if he petitions he will receive at least supervised visits when he gets out of prison.

Unlike your username, this child is NOT only your baby. This is his baby too.


Senior Member
You really do need to get divorced now, while he is still in prison. You need to make that a priority. You can probably get it ordered that he gets no visitation at this time, so that he has to take it to court to get visitation once he is released. If he is as bad as you say, he will likely end up back in jail before he can get an order for visitation.

Also, once he is released, you need to be proactive. If he harasses you, you need to get a restraining order against him immediately. You should have gotten a restraining order against him when he was harassing you before.


Junior Member
is there anything that i can do right now? he writes letters threatening to send his little inmate buddies to come to my house when they are released to watch us and take pictures of his son to send him and all sorts of creepy stuff like that.

i get the impression from the first responder that you are under the impression that i am trying to keep my son away to punish my ex for the things hes done to me... if thats how you read it, thats not the case at all. i could have just totally misread and taken it personally when it may not have been meant in that way at all, so, sorry if i did misread it :( and im not trying to be snotty back at ALL, im just trying to clarify in case thats the way my original thread sounded... im not a mopey ex thats all about look at me, poor me this guy ruined my life, blah blah. im not the kind of woman who will not allow the father to see his child all of a sudden now that he has a new woman in his life or anything stupid like that. i am a strong woman who doesnt need someone dragging me down and i will not stand for anyone to hurt my son, his father or anyone else. ive made peace with how our relationship has ended, but my job as my childs responsible parent is to protect him from the hurt that his dad will inevitably bring to his life. its not about punishing my ex, ALL its about protecting my son and keeping him safe not only physically but emotionally as well.

I live my life with no regrets but do wish i had been more diligent in picking an appropriate father for my chilld, but when i met him i was dumb and naieve... that being said, i would take every awful moment again a million times over because as a result i have my incredible baby. there were sooo many times when i would show up at his house when we first dated to find him passed out dead to the world when he had his daughter, and she would be in dirty diapers in the house alone.. it got to a point that was so bad i started going over there just to make sure she was taken care of... and yes, i did make the choice to have a child with him, but i am embarassed about how naieve i was, thinking that he would change. i have found his daughter in dirty dipers, with no food or drinks available to her (she was a year at the time)... i found her carrying lighters and knives, and i even once found her with a handful of marijuana.

im not concerned that he will ever do the right thing.. he's spent a good deal of his adolescent years in juvy, and now with the total of his current stint in prison, his grand total will be 16 years as an adult of 36. , but im terrified that my son could be in the position his daughter was in. i was horrified by that back then, but honestly believed he would change. its not about punishing him, its about protecting my son from being in that situation. hes threatened to KIDNAP his daughter in front of me, and he has laughed and said that if i tried to keep my son from him that i would never see him again. i have an amicable relationship with his parents and family, his mom cares for my son once a week and we spend time with them regularly, and have a civil/decent relationship with the mom of his other kids and his sisters... i wouldnt ever dream of keeping them away from him, they arent a danger to him the way he is. im just a mom who wants the best for her baby, to protect him from someone i feel will only hurt him emotionally, if not physically.

Ohiogal - you say that it wouldnt make difference since there is no one else to adopt him... why does that make a difference, even IF there were grounds to terminate rights? Would it make any difference if there was someone to adopt him?
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Queen Bee
You would need to be in a stable marriage for a stepparent adoption or be willing to relinguish your rights as well in order for an adoption to happen. The reason being is that the state does not want to end up supporting the child when there are two parents available to support. And yes your husband is available. A child support order could be placed against him and it would remain against him permanently so that as long as he is alive there would be a chance of collecting and forcing him to support his child financially.

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