Imagine you are a single parent, and the other “biological” parent has been absent from any meaningful contact or part of the child(ren)s life for 6 months or more. This is often the situation our clients find themselves in, and when asked if they want to pursue severing the rights of the other parent they worry about “poking the hornets’ nest” or “upsetting the apple cart”.
The fact is that in Arizona if a parent is absent a child’s life in a meaningful way for 6 months or more, there are grounds to file a termination of parental rights (a “severance”) for abandonment under the law.
Now ask yourself, if something happened to me, who would get custody of the child(ren)? – The answer may surprise you…
When you don’t take legal action about the absentee parent, likely that is the very person who will get custody. Even if the other parent has been absent for the entirety of the child’s life, that parent’s rights to the child are superior to those of any grandparents, step-parents, or other family members that you might prefer to care for your child if you were to pass away.
Terminating the rights of the absentee parent can help you to ensure that your wishes for who should care for your child in the event of your untimely death are respected. The idea that your child could be sent to live with a stranger if a parent died is a scary thought for any parent. If you or someone you know is parenting alone, call our office for a consult on how to terminate an absentee parent’s rights.