What constitutes child abandonment or termination of parental rights?

UPDATED: May 2, 2012

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What constitutes child abandonment or termination of parental rights?

My husband and I have my stepdaughter full-time with a shared rights and responsibility order that includes her mother’s visitation supervised only. Her mother hasn’t set up a single visit in almost 2 years. Calls and letters together over the last almost 2 years is slim. Maybe 10 calls and letters all together. She has a known drug problem and has been in and out of jail for theft driving without a license and God only knows what else. Is that enough to be considered child abandonment? I would like to adopt her.

Asked on May 2, 2012 under Family Law, New Hampshire


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You sound like a loving family and your step daughter is lucky to have you in her life.  The facts here add up to a better home for her with you, but if they are enough to ask a court to terminate parental rights, well, maybe not. And if her Mother does not do so voluntarily then that is what you will need to do.  Abandonment may be a ground the court looks at - and you need to check with an attorney in the area on this - but termination has to be court ordered.  It does not just happen under the law.  Good luck.

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