After a divorce, most non-custodial parents tend to live up to their responsibilities. The best go above and beyond, making every effort to support their child regardless of their relationship with the custodial parent. If your ex-spouse doesn't fit this description, or you haven't heard anything from them for a substantial period of time, you may have thought about cutting ties. Before you do, make sure you know just what it involves, and what all the ramifications of that action will be.
Gather Your Evidence
Severing parental ties to a child is necessarily difficult, not only because it shouldn't be done lightly, but to ensure that spiteful custodial parents can't abuse the courts in this way. As a result, you'll need to spend time putting together a case for terminating the parental rights of your former spouse. This will require that you prove a pattern of behavior which includes neglect, abuse, or actions which might endanger your child.
In cases where a non-custodial parent is absent from a child's life for a long period of time, proving your case grows even more difficult. Not only do you have to show that they have failed to meet any support obligations, but that continued association with your former spouse is detrimental to your child's well-being. Once you have the necessary evidence and supporting documentation to take the case before a court, you're still required to make every effort to inform your former spouse of the action you'll be taking, which may prove difficult if you haven't had contact with them.
What to Expect During and After the Proceedings
Actually terminating parental rights is a relatively short process once you get to court, but be aware that your former spouse may choose to defend themselves. In the end, the final decision rests with a family court judge who may elect to hear testimony from more than just the two parents involved in the dispute. This can include character witnesses and the child you share, so do all you can to avoid speaking negatively about your former spouse around your child so that you don't color their testimony.
Once parental rights are terminated, there are some positive and negative results to be aware of. These include giving a current spouse the opportunity to adopt your child legally, and no longer having any legal ties to the biological parent. This also means that the non-custodial parent is no longer obliged to provide any form of support, or acknowledge your child in any estate, insurance or social security documents.
Before proceeding with even the initial steps involved in terminating the parental rights of a biological parent, make sure you consult with a family law professional such as Borowiec & Borowiec PC Attorneys At Law. They can help you better understand the process, and what your local statutes are regarding the action. In addition, an experienced family law attorney can let you know your chances of success.