Parental Rights & Obligations

questions & answers

Question: I read a similar but not exact question, so I'd still like to ask one. My son's biological father & I went through a custody case in 2013. He was granted extremely limited parenting time, but (for some reason) joint legal decision making. It's now been almost 2 years and we haven't seen from or heard from him. I'd like to sever his parental rights, and my current partner is considering adopting my son. The question I read earlier cited ARS numbers, but that doesn't help. I have a doc: "Petition for Termination of Parent-Child Relationship". Is that correct? What if they can't find him?

Answer: Arizona Revised Statutes, section 8-533 allows any person who has a legitimate interest in the welfare of a child to file a petition to terminate a parent's parental rights. There are a number of grounds in the statute for asking parental rights to be terminated. One of the listed grounds for termination is abandonment of the child which may be applicable here.  The law requires you to serve him with the petition, but if you do not know his whereabouts, you can serve him by publication. You should discuss these issues with a lawyer before moving forward. Even if you cannot afford a lawyer to represent you in the court case, a consult with a lawyer can provide valuable guidance on the best way to go forward. There are programs in Arizona that you can use to get some inexpensive legal advice and guidance. One is the Modest Means Program. For a $75 fee, the Modest Means Program will arrange a one hour consult with an experienced attorney.  The telephone number is (866) 637-5341. The second program is the Maricopa County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service. For a $40 fee, Maricopa County Bar Association Lawyer Referral will set you up with a 30 minute consultation with an experienced lawyer. The telephone number is (602) 257-4434.

QUESTIONS

  • I read a similar but not exact question, so I'd still like to ask one. My son's biological father & I went through a custody case in 2013. He was granted extremely limited parenting time, but (for some reason) joint legal decision making. It's now been almost 2 years and we haven't seen from or heard from him. I'd like to sever his parental rights, and my current partner is considering adopting my son. The question I read earlier cited ARS numbers, but that doesn't help. I have a doc: "Petition for Termination of Parent-Child Relationship". Is that correct? What if they can't find him?

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