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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Default Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of:Florida

    I need some serious help. My daughter is 3.5 years old. She has not seen her father in 3 years. We were married. He did not want anything to do with the pregnancy and this caused the divorce. Through a mess up at the hospital he ended up on the birth certificate. We went to court and he was awarded the generic every other weekend visitation. Which he NEVER used. He has seen her about a 7 times total till she was about 6 months and then quit.
    A year later he asked the courts to allow him to see her again. They pulled his medical records and found him to be homicidal/suicidal and bipolar. The judge granted him 2 hours of supervised visitation every other weekend. This was TWO years ago. He never saw her. He had his lawyer send a letter stating he wasn't interested in seeing her.
    He was asked to pay $1,000 child support a month. He hasn't paid any of this. (which I don’t care, I am fine without his money) When we went back to court, the judge lowered it and hit him with arrears, which he never paid. I tried to get him served with contempt of court but he dodged the process server for months till I said forget it. I have blown $15k in attorneys fees to protect her and am now broke with no lawyer.
    My daughter has severe ADHD and I can't make any major medical decisions without him. I can't get her a passport to travel without him, I can't move. All I want to do is protect my daughter and move on with my life.
    What constitutes as abandonment in Florida? What are my chances of asking a judge to remove his rights and them doing so? What if he comes to court and just to be an ass (because he is) he then asks to have contact with her? My boyfriend and I have lived together for a year and this is all she knows and loves. Im petrified of my ex and his medical records and such. I really need help!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    Are you talking about stepparent adoption?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    Quote Quoting CrystalRR
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    Through a mess up at the hospital he ended up on the birth certificate.
    That's not a mess up - that's the LAW. A married woman's husband is AUTOMATICALLY the legal father and goes on the birth certificate. Even if the birth certificate had been blank, he'd STILL be the legal father of the child.


    We went to court and he was awarded the generic every other weekend visitation. Which he NEVER used. He has seen her about a 7 times total till she was about 6 months and then quit. A year later he asked the courts to allow him to see her again.
    When he attempted to re-establish contact, that'll effectively wipe away the past time that he didn't see the child. So the "countdown" clock for time with no attempted contact restarted when he made that request. How long has it been now, SINCE that request?


    They pulled his medical records and found him to be homicidal/suicidal and bipolar. The judge granted him 2 hours of supervised visitation every other weekend. This was TWO years ago. He never saw her. He had his lawyer send a letter stating he wasn't interested in seeing her.
    That'll work in your favor if step-parent adoption is your goal.


    He was asked to pay $1,000 child support a month. He hasn't paid any of this. (which I don’t care, I am fine without his money) When we went back to court, the judge lowered it and hit him with arrears, which he never paid. I tried to get him served with contempt of court but he dodged the process server for months till I said forget it. I have blown $15k in attorneys fees to protect her and am now broke with no lawyer.
    A sadly common set of events when a deadbeat parent is willing to be on the run, rather than support their children - leaving the lone custodial parent stressed, frustrated, and broke.


    My daughter has severe ADHD and I can't make any major medical decisions without him.
    Why has custody not simply been altered to give you sole legal custody and decision-making? That'd be a pretty easy thing for the court to order, given the circumstances. The letter from his attorney along with his complete absence during his supervised visitation for 2 year should be more than enough. Get a request in to the court and ASK for sole decision-making authority. No reason the child's health should suffer due to an absconded father.


    I can't get her a passport to travel without him, I can't move.
    All things that the court can alter, but you've got to get in there and ask (ie file a petition).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,474

    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    Quote Quoting CrystalRR
    View Post
    My question involves a child custody case from the State of:Florida

    I need some serious help. My daughter is 3.5 years old. She has not seen her father in 3 years. We were married. He did not want anything to do with the pregnancy and this caused the divorce. Through a mess up at the hospital he ended up on the birth certificate. We went to court and he was awarded the generic every other weekend visitation. Which he NEVER used. He has seen her about a 7 times total till she was about 6 months and then quit.
    A year later he asked the courts to allow him to see her again. They pulled his medical records and found him to be homicidal/suicidal and bipolar. The judge granted him 2 hours of supervised visitation every other weekend. This was TWO years ago. He never saw her. He had his lawyer send a letter stating he wasn't interested in seeing her.
    He was asked to pay $1,000 child support a month. He hasn't paid any of this. (which I don’t care, I am fine without his money) When we went back to court, the judge lowered it and hit him with arrears, which he never paid. I tried to get him served with contempt of court but he dodged the process server for months till I said forget it. I have blown $15k in attorneys fees to protect her and am now broke with no lawyer.
    My daughter has severe ADHD and I can't make any major medical decisions without him. I can't get her a passport to travel without him, I can't move. All I want to do is protect my daughter and move on with my life.
    What constitutes as abandonment in Florida? What are my chances of asking a judge to remove his rights and them doing so? What if he comes to court and just to be an ass (because he is) he then asks to have contact with her? My boyfriend and I have lived together for a year and this is all she knows and loves. Im petrified of my ex and his medical records and such. I really need help!!!
    Its actually not true that you cannot make major medical decisions without him nor get a passport without him. The worst that can happen if you make a medical decision without him is that he would choose to file for contempt against you in court. Based on his history, he would have little to no chance of getting anywhere with that.

    As far as the passport is concerned, there is a form that can be filed with a passport application that may allow you to get a passport without his signature.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    3

    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
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    When he attempted to re-establish contact, that'll effectively wipe away the past time that he didn't see the child. So the "countdown" clock for time with no attempted contact restarted when he made that request. How long has it been now, SINCE that request?


    A sadly common set of events when a deadbeat parent is willing to be on the run, rather than support their children - leaving the lone custodial parent stressed, frustrated, and broke.

    Why has custody not simply been altered to give you sole legal custody and decision-making? That'd be a pretty easy thing for the court to order, given the circumstances. The letter from his attorney along with his complete absence during his supervised visitation for 2 year should be more than enough. Get a request in to the court and ASK for sole decision-making authority. No reason the child's health should suffer due to an absconded father.

    All things that the court can alter, but you've got to get in there and ask (ie file a petition).

    It has been a FULL TWO YEARS since we went to court and he attempted to re-establish contact. It was February of 2009 when she was 1.5 and now she is 3.5years old. So it has been some time.
    And I am not really that concerned about the money. I have made it this far. Though last January I got a letter from the state saying they took him to court and were seeking to suspend his DL for lake of payments. Well they told him that if he could pay $200 by Feb he could keep his DL. I didn't understand this as as he is over $30k behind.
    And to answer your question of why things haven't been altered? I am petrified of taking him to court and him then asking to see her. I just didn't know what would constitute as abandonment under Florida law. I am a stable mother, with a stable home in a nice gated community and job yet I am just scared of this man having contact with her. It's why I left him and why I never pushed him to see her and why I ask courts to pull medical records. I knew he was unstable.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    He does have rights.

    Granted, it may end up with only supervised visitation - but honestly, what would be so wrong about that?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    3

    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    Everything is wrong with that. Everything about this man is wrong. I just wish he would disappear completely from her life. With his hatred toward me and his homicidal/suicidal/bipolar tendencies, I just have this long standing fear of a murder/suicide. This stems from when she was a baby and had her at a mutual friends, she started crying and he stated "I can see how people would just shake a baby to death, the crying drives me insane." And yes this quote was used against him in court.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    And yet the court did not find him unfit, nor did the court terminate his rights.

    Do you understand "supervised"?

    And seriously - I get that you're afraid. I really do. But he still. Has. Rights.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    Quote Quoting CrystalRR
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    Everything about this man is wrong.
    The problem is that when you slept with him and had his child, those choices imbued rights upon him AND rights to your child to have two parents - even one with "issues" and "tendencies". Now, only a court can take those rights away, after due process - and courts don't take away things based on what MIGHT happen, but on what DOES or HAS happened. Having a tendency isn't generally enough to quash a CONSTITUTIONALLY protected right to access to his children, which is why when someone MAY pose a danger, supervised visitation is the standard.

    "I can see how people would just shake a baby to death, the crying drives me insane."
    Ok, but I've heard lots of people say similar things, about their own children, strangers children (esp in the line at the grocery store). In and of itself, this isn't a direct and credible threat. Generalized statements will go nowhere.


    I just wish he would disappear completely from her life.
    If he wants to be involved, the courts will give him every opportunity. Otherwise the only way that's going to happen is if DAD decides he wants to disappear from her life OR he actually takes some direct action that endangers the child.


    With his hatred toward me and his homicidal/suicidal/bipolar tendencies, I just have this long standing fear of a murder/suicide.
    He might have those feelings towards YOU - but as far as the court is concerned, you and your child are two separate people and his relationship with his child is viewed separately. Him hating your guts and wanting YOU dead doesn't mean he'll feel or act that way towards the child.


    This stems from when she was a baby and had her at a mutual friends, she started crying and he stated "I can see how people would just shake a baby to death, the crying drives me insane." And yes this quote was used against him in court.
    I can see it too, since the reality is that it does happen all too frequently. The sound of children screaming is programmed in the human brain at a primevil level to go into your spine and makes you get up to see what the problem is - a great accomplishment for a tribal animal like man where the collective community watches out for each other. But some people don't know how to make the screaming stop, and when everything they've tried doesn't work, frustration and anger take over, and THAT is where shaken baby syndrome and danger or damage to the child come onto the scene. So yes, I can "see it" too - but that doesn't mean I'd DO it or act on it, doesn't make me a danger to children, and doesn't mean dad is either. It might have been SUBMITTED at the court hearing, but apparantly the court didn't find it actionable either, as supervised visitation was still ordered. Gonna take MUCH more than such a generalized statement before the court is going to consider complete termination of dad's rights - and regardless of how long it's been since he's seen her, YOU are going to have to go to court again before the court can evaluate the situation for termination - and dad will be notified and have a chance to fight it - and if he shows up and fights to stay in the child's life, you're correct, he might seek visitation again, even if supervised. But the legal reality you're facing is that nothing so far indicates that complete termination of his rights is warranted here. Contempt for failure to obey the child support order? Absolutely, yes. Visitation being supervised? Probably, at least for the short term. Complete termination of dad's rights AND the child's right to TWO parents? Not yet.


    Edit to add: I'd be in jail for the rest of my life for animal cruelty if I got charged for every time I said "if that damn cat knocks my glass off the coffee table ONE more time, I'm gonna beat his furry little....", and then picked him up and loved on him. The words mean little. The ACTION means lots.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    FL
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    137

    Default Re: Child Abandonment and Removal of Father

    Ok I am not good enough to quote random lines like aardvarc there is. I probably need to learn.

    For one he was given supervised visitation and didnt exercise that right, so more as you were told the clock will start again. Unless he actually hurts her or signs his rights away in leu of a step parent adoption than he will have some rights as dad.

    Does your court paperwork give you Sole Parental responsibility/ Sole Custody with him having supervised visits? If it does than you wont need him for major medical or passports. That is what my court paperwork states now. All because of my Ex's lack of exercising his visitation rights or any contact ina few years. I can do as I wish with the children, as far as medical, relocation, passports etc.

    As far as him saying I can see why some people shake their babies remark goes. I hate to say it but with DD#2 I said the same thing. Did I ever act on it OH HECK NO. She had severe colic and it was terrible. When I would get to that point I would swaddle her and place her in her swing turn it on and go hide my head under my pillow, for 10 min or so to adjust my fustration. So I felt the same way, I could see how people lacking control snap. I never let myself get there, but thinking, saying and doing are two different things. Good luck but he is dad and will retain some sort of rights!

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