Monday, August 23, 2010

Termination of Parental Rights Law in Wisconsin -- Grounds for Termination

By John DiMotto
In Wisconsin, termination of parental rights can result either voluntarily or involuntarily. The vast majority of cases filed seek involuntary termination. These cases are almost always brought by the State and the petition sets forth detailed information and facts to support the grounds alleged. There are instances, however, when a parent makes the decision to consent to termination of his/her rights because he/she believes that it is in the child's best interests. Many of these cases are filed by the parent himself/herself under 48.41 although in some instances they are brought by the State allege the parent's consent as the grounds. see 48.42.
In a voluntary consent scenario, the grounds consist of giving a free, knowing, intelligent consent. In these cases the Court must undertake a colloquy with the parent to be sure that termination is what the parent wants and be convinced that the parent fully understands the consequences of the decision. see 48.422(7). If the court accepts a voluntary consent after an in depth colloquy with a parent, it can proceed to disposition. A finding of unfitness is not a condition precedent to disposition.
In an involuntary TPR scenario, a parent disputes the allegations of the State and will demand either a jury trial or a court trial. The grounds alleged must be proven by the State by clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence. There are seventeen grounds that can be alleged:
1) Abandonment. Child left without provision for care or support and parents can not be found for 60 days. see 48.415(1)(a)1.
2) Abandonment. Child left without provision for care or support in a place where child is exposed to substantial risk or great bodily harm or death. see 48.415(1)(a)1m.
3) Abandonment. Child abandoned at less than one year of age. see 48.415(1)(a)1r.
4) Abandonment. Child out of parent home and parent does not visit or communicate with child for 3 months. see 48.415(1)(a)2.
5) Abandonment. Child away from parent, parent could visit or communicate but does not for 6 months. see 48.415(1)(a)3.
6) Relinquishment. This occurs when a parent gives up custody within the first 72 hours of the child's life. see 48.415(1m).
7) Child in Continuing Need of Protection or Services. This occurs where there is in place a dispositional order that governs a child in need of protection or services, reasonable efforts have been made to help the child and family reunite but the parent has failed to take advantage of the programming and services offered. see 48.415(2)(a).
8) Child in Continuing Need of Protection or Services - Three Strikes. see 48.415(2)(am).
9) Continuing Parental Disability. For two of the last five years the parent has been under disability, the condition is likely to go on indefinitely and the child is not being properly cared for. see 48.415(3).
10) Continuing Denial of Periods of Physical Placement or Visitation. This occurs when an order affecting a family has denied placement or visitation for at least one year. see 48.415(4).
11) Child Abuse. see 48.415(5).
12) Failure to Assume Parental Responsibility. This occurs where a parent does not have a significant parental relationship. see 48.415(6).
13) Incestuous Parenthood. This is utilized against the father. see 48.415(7).
14) Homicide or Solicitation to Commit Homicide against a parent by the other parent. see 48.415(8).
15) Parenthood as a result of a Sexual Assault. see 48.415(9).
16) Serious Felony against One of the Person's Children. see 48.415(9m).
17) Prior Involuntary TPR. see 48.415(10).
Of these 17 grounds, most oftentimes the State alleges three grounds: Abandonment - 3 or 6 months, Continuing Need for Protection or Services, and Failure to Assume Parental Responsibility. Regardless of what grounds are alleged, the allegations brought by the State provide the basis upon which the case will proceed.
In my next blog, I will look at the responsibilities of the Court at the Initial Appearance in the case.

253 comments:

  1. What if there is a voluntary parental rights but the birth parents don't show up for court or any other things required?

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  2. What happens if my ex was giving money (not child support ordered by court), but he doesn't have a relationship with our daughter??

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  3. The fact of paying support is a factor that would be considered. The totality of circumstances throughout a child's entire life are considered. No one factor is dispositive of whether parental rights are or are not terminated.

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  4. Anonymous my sons father has never seen him, yes he pays child support but doesnt care about his son at all.i pay for everything he needs, roof over his head, food, schooling,clothes,day care. my question is why doe he pay so little for child support and i raise him is he entiled to claim him on his taxes every other yr?? in my eyes i think its wrong, cause what he pays for support, he gets more for claiming him in his yr?

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  5. My son's father has not seen or contacted my son in over 6 years. I want to petition to have his rights terminated for abandonment and failure to assume parental responsibility, however I was told I have to be married and my husband has to adopt him in order for this to happen. Is this true??

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    1. NO! My daughter was 3 when I filed TPR...I was not only NOT married, I was single. Didn't have a boyfriend. The nature of adoption is important to some judges, but the fact is, usually fathers like your son's will end up voluntarily giving up rights when they find out how much they'll be getting out of paying child support til he is 18/19!

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  6. My girlfriends husband/ex-husband is in jail on po hold. A few years ago he was arrested and convicted of position of child porn. He has since gone through treatment and what not but was put on PO hold for abstruction due to running from police and not reporting to PO. Recently my gf who is in the process of divorce, was told by her ex in jail that the state is trying to take away is parental rights due to the divorce and says only way to stop this is to call off divorce. She has no plans on going back to him but is considering calling off divorce to stop him from losing parental rights as she doesn't want son to lose dad. No one from state has talked to my gf about this in the least and only being told stuff by husband and his lawyer telling her she needs to call off divorce ASAP. Is this on the up and up. He had seen his son this past December for Christmas which PO knew about. He was arrested in Jan/Feb if i remember correctly. I just dont want her calling off divorce if she doesn't have to because I have feeling this is not legit.

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    1. I am ethically precluded from giving legal advice which is what your question requests. I would suggest that your girlfriend call the District Attorney's Office in her county and speak with an assistant district attorney who handles TPR cases.

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    2. Can we file for abandonment if the father hasn't been a part of there life since they were born 4 yrs ago his name isn't on there birth certificates and they don't have his last name what are the laws in Colorado

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  7. we picked up our grand daughter on Saturday for an over night and we still have her because we have not been able to get a hold of her mother. We have called,text and went by the house with no return call. What should we do? We had custody of her from January 2011 through April 2011. Custody was returned on April 27, 2011

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    1. You can always call the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare at 220-SAFE to report this circumstance for their investigation.

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  8. My son has not seen his father in over 4 years and is about $15,000 behind in child support. I have an appointment with a lawyer to talk about terminating his father's parental rights on Tuesday. But I was told that I am not able to do this unless I am married to someone that is willing to adopt my son and take on the responsibility of him. Does anyone know if this is true?

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    1. You should contact a lawyer in private practice who specializes in private TPR cases. He/she can give you the legal advice that you seek. In the alternative you do have the option of contacting the District Attorney's office in your county and consult with one of their TPR attorneys.

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  9. My sons father wasn't involved at all. He wasn't there for the birth or anything. He wanted to give up his rights when we were in court, but the judge wouldn't let him. I was totally fine with it as well he showed no interest. I'm looking into the abandonment thing. He still owes thousands to the state for the birth. Would I still be able to even if he owes thousands to the state? I guess I don't know a whole lot about the abandonment thing but am definitely interested. My son will be three in December.

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  10. Courts are very reluctant to terminate the parental rights of just one parent -- unless it is done in order for a step-father to be able to adopt the child of his wife. The philosophy is that if only one parent's rights are terminated and then the surviving parent dies, the child becomes an orphan and can become a ward of the state and have to enter the foster home system.

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    1. If my husband has a signed and filed by a judge relinquishment of his rights, can his ex now try and get child support if the kids were never adopted as said 2 yes ago?

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  11. I have recently adopted two children out of fostercare in Wisconsin. I have been trying to help the birth parents get their lives back. One issue that has come up is child support. If there was an involuntary TPR, are the birthparents still liable for child support. I would suggest they see an attorney but they are of little means and trying to pay off so many other debts. I am unsure of how to help them,short of paying myself for them to consult with an attorney.

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  12. Under Wisconsin law, 48.43(2)(a) termination of parental rights severs all rights AND DUTIES that the birth parents had with respect to the child, therefore, the obligation to pay child support ends.

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    1. unless you owe back support and arrears. They may still make you pay it. They are making me.

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    2. While future child support ends, it is accurate that what has been incurred in the past is still a legal obligation. TPR does not extinguish past obligations.

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  13. My son's biological father has been out of his life for over 2 years now (no contact/visitation, no child support). My soon-to-be husband wants to adopt my son. In WI is there a law as to how long a stepparent must be married to the custodial parent before adopting a child? (When we get married we will have been together 4 and a half years, and lived together for over 3, so there is already a strong relationship between soon-to-be-stepdad and child.)

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  14. There is no law regarding how long the stepparent and parent must be married before the stepparent could adopt. If the mother starts a termination up rental rights action against the birth father and if the mother establishes grounds then the court decides if it is in the best interest of the child to terminate the birth father's rights. If the court decides it is in the child's best interest then the stepparent can adopt immediately Unless there is an appeal

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  15. My daughters "father" has never seen her, also has made no effort. Is it possible for him to sign off and my boyfriend of 4+ years to sign on in his place?

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  16. While TPR for adoption by a step parent is allowed, the law does not provide for a father to sign off so a boyfriend can adopt.

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  17. Hello,
    We have legal guardianship now of our great neice since July of last year. She was with us shortly after birth, taken away at 3 1/2 years old to go to the paternal side. She came back apprx 11 months later in which we now have the guardianship. Dad is incarcerated for sevaral more years and even though mother has had pleny of oppertunities to see her daughter, has had no communication with her since September of last year. Can we file for TPR even though father is incarcerated- he calls once a month to speak to her-neither parent pays child support.

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  18. It would be best for you to contact an attorney who specializes in Adoption law and give that attorney ALL of the history of the child and the extent or lack thereof of the relationship between parents and the child. The "devil is in the details."

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  19. Hi i am a father of two my ex girlfrined has custidy of both kids. She has a husband now and wont let me see the kids. she has said a number of times she wishes the kids where his one of them even has his last name. i pay 500 $ a month in child suport so dont have the money for a aturney can u help me get on the right track to get a trp.
    thanks!

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    1. Even if you cannot afford an attorney you have the right to file a motion with the paternity court seeking to enforce your visitation rights.

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    2. If my ex give up her rights n Milwaukee wis .do she tell have to pay chikdsupoort

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  20. I would like to terminate my parental rights. I am the "adjudacated' father. Foolishly I never took the paternity test, believing the mother when she said she would take my name off the possible father list. She never did & also never listed any of the other possible fathers. He is almost 3. I have not seen him, nor do I pay support for him. I do not communicate with her, although she does leave me random messages at times. She is American Indian and just recently got him back from the tribe. He was taken from her due to facing felony charges. She is now on probation for the charges. She currently has placement back due to the fact that she is living with her dad.I would like all ties with her to be cut. Do you think I have any chance of a judge granting my termination, as I have heard it is hard if there is no other perspective father willing to adopt?

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    1. It is very difficult to attempt to voluntarily terminate your parental rights given your circumstances. You should consult with a lawyer.

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    2. John i would likr to terminate my rights as a mother completely how do i do that

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  21. Failure to assume parental responsibility, how long does time has to elapse to be considered grounds for TPR? Also child abandonment as a father, is 6 months of not contacting the child or visiting the child considered grounds for TPR?

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  22. In this post I have set forth the various grounds for potential termination of parental rights. A failure to visit or communicate with ones child or caretaker for 6 months without good cause can establish this ground.

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  23. Hi, my daughter is 17 months and her father was seeing her 0-2 times a month for the first year. He has not seen her for about 3 months now. I really do not think he is fit to be a parent, I do not hate him or anything but I'm sick of him trying to get out of things (legal and family problems) using the excuse of having a daughter. He's been in a lot of trouble and I'm pretty sure he even has to go to jail soon for getting terminated from drug court. I know he won't voluntarily give up rights. He does not pay child support as I get help from the state (badgercare, foodstamps, childcare). But I don't even care about that. I just don't trust him with her and I don't want him to have rights to her anymore. When he did take her, I wouldn't even know where he was, the worst feeling ever. Like I said, he's just not a fit parent at this point in his life. Please help, I don't know what to do.

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    1. What you are seeking is legal advice as to what your options are in these circumstances. It would be best for you to consult with a lawyer.

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  24. How about a father voluntarily filing for this due to a disatourous and irreplaceable relationship with the mother? The fight is causing medical and health issues.

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  25. The circumstances you describe, while very unfortunate, do not provide a basis to seek to voluntarily terminate parental rights. However, every case is fact specific, so you may want to consult with an attorney who has special expertise in TPR cases.

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  26. My son was threatening my younger boys and me. We asked CTY to help, they took him, put in foster care, two weeks and the family was afraid of him and he was sent to 40 day therapy eval place. Now we have diagnosis of Rad. We are being charged $500 month for him and can't get him back because they say our home isn't safe. We feel such a loss what if anything can be done to help him come home or us relinquish our rights, he doesn't want to come home because he can't play sports.

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    1. Ms. Newman - If you have a pending CHIPS case with a Dispositional Order in place, you will have to meet the conditions of return in the Order in order for your son to be reunited with you. If you do not meet the conditions of return, the State or County ordinarily will commence a TPR case. At that juncture you will have the option of Voluntarily consenting to terminate your parental rights once that case is started. It would be best for you to discuss your particular circumstances with an attorney who has expertise in TPR cases and to discuss options in your particular case.

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  27. My x-wife has since our divorce over 5yrs ago been makin accusations on me 2 get the kids taken from me this last time the court granted her that i have no contact and that was a yr and a half ago it was found by the investigator and cps that they were untrue and yet i still don't get 2 c the kids i tried 2 file for a tpr cause it is best 4 the children because everytime i get the kids bk 6months 2 a yr and she says i did something else so the kids get taken away from me again and no child should have 2 go threw w that. Well when i was n front of the judge 4 the tpr was told i could not do that because she is not remarried and there 4 they would not grant me that even tho she has bought a house w her boyfriend of 3yrs now and the court and her and her lawyer don't want me 2 c the kids. What can i do about this? They tell do this do that so i do and 6 months 2 a yr later have 2 go back threw it all again. Just don't feel that its health 4 my children 2 keep doin this.

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    1. Your issues are complex. You should consult with an attorney who specializes in family law to discuss your options.

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  28. My son's mother willingly signed over primary placement of my son due to me addressing concerns regarding her drug/alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and illegal activity, etc. happening at her house involving her boyfriend while my son was in her placement. She is suppose to have visitation every other weekend according to custody agreement and has not tried contacting me at all even though she lives 5 minutes away in almost a year. When we signed the agreement 3 years ago, she was taking him every other weekend and then began telling me she wasn't able to because she was busy and he gradually stopped going there, she eventually stopped texting/calling. I have never denied her visitation but I don't trust the environment he would be going into if she were to contact me again and he feels uncomfortable and scared to go there. She does not pay any child support and has done absolutely nothing for him since I have taken over placement 3 years ago. My wife has always been involved in his life and knows her as his mom, and we take care of him every day, we support him and stay involved in his school, community/religion, activities, etc. and his mother has no involvement what so ever. She and her now husband have a drug/alcohol abuse problem and have been charged with drugs found in their home in the last 6 months. What is the likelihood of getting her rights terminated and my wife adopting him? I am worried about his well-being if something happens to me.

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    1. I write this blog to give people insight into the law in many areas. However, I cannot give legal advice. Based on what you have written, you may want to contact a lawyer who has expertise in TPR cases where a step parent adoption is being considered to advise you of your options in light of YOUR specific circumstances.

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  29. I want desperately to terminate my parental rights. No lawyer will help me as I have tried 6 different attorneys. I have read that ultimately the only way I can have them terminated is by killing the custodial parent. I have made numerous threats against the other parents life but apparently that's not enough. I even called childrens court and was laughed off of the phone. The fact that he receives state benefits is the only reason I'm still tied to these kids because the state doesn't want to be responsible. I also receive state benefits so either way they state is picking up the tab. What more can I do?

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    1. Violence is never acceptable as a solution. I would suggest that you call the Milwaukee County District Attorneys Office - Termination of Parental Rights Unit and ask to speak to one of their attorneys regarding your issues and frustrations.

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  30. My daughters biological father has not seen her since she was 3 weeks old. Has NEVER payed support... Has NEVER tried to see her (the visit at 3 weeks old was only cuz he wanted to see if she looked like him). Paternity has been established. Have not heard from him in over 2 years. I was told its possible to file abandonment charges and still have him have to pay support...is there any truth to this? and if so how do i go about it.

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    1. Courts are reluctant to terminate the parental rights of one parent at the instance of the other parent unless it is for the purposes of a step parent adoption. The fear is that is a one parent termination is granted and the remaining parent dies, the child, is essence, becomes an orphan. Furthermore, if a termination is granted it ends all legal duties of that parent including ending the requirement for payment of child support. To fully explore all of your options you should consult with an attorney who has expertise in termination of parental rights law.

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  31. My daughter's father has severe bipolar disorder and is on the highest dosage possible for that along with OCD disorder. He attacked me 2 years ago and gave me a concussion. He also abandoned our daughter on the couch in just her diaper with me unconscious in the middle of winter leaving the door wide open. He was found on the freeway and hospitalized in county for a month. He has made no effort at all to see her. Nobody has attempted to make the connection from his family. No child support. He is not on her birth certificate (I am seriously thanking that nurse for refusing). I am married now, expecting, and my husband wants to put his name on her birth certificate. She is part of the family and they want to make it official. Do I have to take any action or can I just let him adopt her?

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    1. Before your husband can have his name put on the birth certificate he would have to adopt your daughter. Before he could adopt your daughter you would have to file a private termination of parental rights action. Since this process can be very technical, you should consult an attorney with experience in TPR cases.

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  32. About 12 years ago, the birth mother of my husband's son had her children taken by social services in Rhinelander, WI, including my husband's son. My husband, along with his parents, immediately went to court to get custody. The child was placed with a foster family. In spite of no finding of neglect, abandonment or danger in the home on my husband's part by social services, my husband's parental rights were still terminated by the court and the foster family legally adopted the child. The social worker who was working with my husband told him he saw the judge, guardian ad litem and foster parents having dinner together while the case was pending. My husband was only 19 at the time and neither he nor his parents had the money to continue to pay the lawyer and file an appeal. My husband had to move to Milwaukee to find work and then lost his car when he was arrested for driving without a license (trying to go visit his son in Rhinelander) so he was unable to keep visitation. This was explained to social services. Regardless, my husband lost the case, lost his son and has no idea where he is now. Is there any way for him to find his son? He knows that the foster family is now the only family that his son has ever known, but it is still heartbreaking to him to know that his son may think he abandoned him or didn't want him. He wouldn't mind at least getting to see him or finding him so he can connect when his son turns 18 years old. It is unbelievable that a father can have his child taken away so easily and that the court wouldn't even award custody to the natural grandparents in favor of strangers. We know a lot of time has passed, but there must be SOME kind of recourse or action that can be taken? My husband is a good man and has always been a responsible father to his children. It kills him that he wasn't able to stop this from happening just because of his youth, his and his parents' low income and ignorance of their rights. Can he get access to all of the court records to prove what happened to him? Any advice would be appreciated.

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    1. Once parental rights are terminated, the parent no longer has the right to court or social service agency records regarding the child. The court files are confidential as are the records of the social service agency. However,your husband may want to consult with an attorney who has expertise in TPR and Adoption matters.

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    2. That is very disappointing to hear, but thank you for your quick response.

      Does he not even have a right to access records pertaining to him directly? Transcripts of the court proceedings as he was trying to keep his son? He may have lost parental rights but what of his rights as a U.S. and Wisconsin citizen? They literally stole his child and now we are wondering if his lawyer wasn't incompetent. It seems unfair that a gross miscarriage of justice can continue simply because my husband doesn't have the funds to pay a lawyer. From reading I've done, his 4th and 14th amendment rights were clearly denied in this case. I've gone over the reasons TPR may occur and none of them seem to apply in his case. My husband said that the case workers assigned to monitor him and his residence testified in court that they saw no evidence of neglect, unfit parenting, drug use, etc. He said that the reason cited for the removal in the first place was a severe diaper rash! The birth mother had to be put in jail to be forced to make court dates while my husband spent his and his parents' money to fight to get his son back. Shouldn't the child at least have been given to immediate family? His parents' were both employed (one with MPS), owned a home and requested custody but were denied without social worker even visiting their home.

      I spoke to my husband about it in greater depth this morning and he said he basically gave up back then, because his lawyer said nothing could be done after the TPR unless he came up with money he didn't have. He said the reason he was given for the TPR was that the judge didn't feel he was old enough to raise a child - completely ignoring that the grandparents were willing to take custody. His lawyer told him he ran into the TPR special attorney that was brought in on this case and the TPR attorney told him it was the "hardest TPR case she ever had." Probably because they had nothing on the father to justify TPR!

      There is just so much wrong with this. It seems we will be forced to file the form allowing adopted children to contact their birth parents and wait until he turns 18. I cannot believe these people are getting away with this. We can't afford an attorney, but maybe we can get a consultation with an attorney who has expertise in TPR and Adoption matters. How do we find someone with such expertise?

      Thank you again for your comments.

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    3. Once parental rights have been terminated and appeal times expired, a birth parent no longer has the right to access the court or social service agency files. The confidentiality is to allow the child and adoptive family to move forward. Consulting with an attorney may be very beneficial for your husband. You can call the Milwaukee Bar Association Lawyer Referral phone number and tell them you would like to consult with an attorney with special expertise in TPR and Adoption and they can assist you in doing so.

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  33. I have been paying support for a child for the past 9 years and have never met the child and have no desire to meet the child. According to what I am reading in the WI law library it sounds like I can file to have my parental rights terminated based on 48.415(6)(a)(b) Please advise what your thoughts are on this.

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  34. We are grandparents taking care of our Grandchildren due to the mothers inability to care for them (suspected drug use) We recently were given temporary gaurdianship however the Father who is a non citizen and has a domestic abuse charge against him from another case and has restrictions on seeing his other child now suddenly wants All his visitation rights. He has only had random contact with his kids for the past 10 yrs and most recently it had been 4 months since even a phone call. he did call once he was served papers for petitioning for guardianship. The mother wants us to care for her children until she gets better. We are concerned for their safety and he want to take them for visitation and they DO NOT want to go with him. At the age of 10 do they have any say so?

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    1. I would like to talk to you about this, I am in kind of the same situation with the daughter. I do not yet have guardianship, but need help trying to figure out how to go about this. Would it be possible for us to speak?

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  35. All of the circumstances you raise would be considered by a judge in making custody and placement issues. I would suggest you retain a lawyer with family law expertise to advise you.

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  36. What if my childs father has visitation but wont ever come get his daughter cuz i said the first few times it has to be with me cuz she is scared of people she dose not know. Im also scared to let him haveher cuz he used to choke me when he got mad. He has seen her once in the 6 months and for the last 2 he wont even ask to see her. If he keeps it up can i terminate his rights.

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  37. One parent terminations are frowned upon because if the parent with the child dies, the child becomes an "orphan." However, every case is different and the best course of action is to speak with an attorney with expertise in termination of parental rights cases. In most communities, there is a lawyer's bar association with a referral service where a person can get a free consultation with an attorney.

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  38. Can a 15 yr old child that has not seen her mother in 2 years because the mom has not followed court orders set up to see her file a case to not see her again?

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    1. If she has a lawyer, she can ask her lawyer to file a motion with the court to address the issue. Otherwise she could ask her GAL to do so.

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  39. My sons father denied him while I was pregnant and after he was born I could not find him. For over four years he has not been part of us no contact and no help. This should take all his rights away....right? Do I really need him to go to court for this.

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    1. Rights can only be terminated by a court.

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  40. What steps would I have to take if the father lives in another state?

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    1. Before a court can terminate parental rights, it must have personal jurisdiction over the parent. That is obtained by having the parent personally served with the summons and petition or, if after due diligende is taken to personally serve without success, publication service in the jurisdiction where the parent lives along with mailing the summons and petition to the last known address there will obtain personal jurisdiction over the parent.

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  41. My sons father is a heroin addict, he is on ssi and disability, and also in jail with a pending felony upon completion of a rehab facility. He already got kicked out of the rehab once and his po put him in jail to try one last one. He doesnt want to get better, he has always told me that once he gets out, he will just do it here and there. I just want him gone. Does any of this qualify for abandonment?

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    1. Secdtion 48.415(1) sets forth the various circumstances that constitute abandonment. Whether abandonment has occurred is very fact specific. You should consult with an attorney who has expertise in TPR cases regarding your specific circumstances.

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  42. Can i put in a judgement to terminate mother's rights if she has visitation rights to every weekend minus the first weekend of the month but has not seen them or taken them in more than 4 months? this has been going on for years and i have permanent placement since the youngest was 1 and now is 8?

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  43. Whether the conduct of a noncustodial parent is such that a ground to terminate parental rights is present is very case specific. You should consult with an attorney who has special expertise in TPR cases to discuss your particular circumstances.

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  44. In a termination case the reason being used for an established abandonment charge is "good cause due to mental issues". Is this a valid reason if the abandonment has been a number of years and the parent was not even hospitalized?

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    1. In Wisconsin, "Good cause" can be a defense to an Abandonment allegation. The "good cause" during the period of abandonment must be proven by the person claiming the defense by a preponderance of the evidence. A judge or a jury would make the decision as to whether the "mental issues" claimed was sufficient because of the lack of hospitalization. Every case is different and fact specific.

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    2. If good cause is claimed upon the father for domestic violence and he's not adjudicated or on recognition or birth certificate is that terminating his parantage? Also, can one still be ordered to pay support to the baby despite these decisions? There are give protection orders against him. For my children for abuse and violence towards us all. Including threats of taking our lives. If he wants to pay support can he?

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  45. Son is five born 2008 father was in life until Feb 2011 moved to AL came back Aug 2013 to same county with live in only had seen son five times missing two months in between last saw him on Dec 26 has not called or visited since..... pays child support in an amount I lowered based off living expenses in AL......Im engaged to a great man who's my son's father not biological but who chooses my son as his own. Can I go about terminating rights or something to made biological father gone from our lives? It angers me to know that he can just go on with his life not taking care of what he said was his heart in the reason for moving back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or circumstances are somewhat complex. You should consult with an attorney who has expertise in TPR cases for legal advice.

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  46. My soon to be ex wife, left my two children unsupervised for a period of 10 hrs, for 5 days straight. My children's ages are 7 yrs and 6 yrs old. As soon as i found out, CPS and DCFS interviewed me, mother, and children and indicted the mother for child neglect. Our divorce/custody hearing is in two weeks, will those reports help me in getting full custody for my children? Also, a GAL has been appointed to our case, and i have provided all of the report findings to the GAL.

    ReplyDelete
  47. My ex has refused to let me see or even meet my child for over two years now.. I try calling and everything but no answer or reply.. I didn't know she was even with child because she never told me nor told me she gave birth ( my daughter was conceived the month we ended up braking apart) I didn't find this out till 3 months after the birth when I received anything regarding her..I pay child support , never late, all I want is to see and meet my child..please any and all information will be amazing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you have been adjudicated the father in a paternity action you have the right to request placement (visitation) with the child. If there is already such an order allowing you visitation, you have the right to seek enforcement of that order. If you have not been adjudicated the father, you can seek to be adjudicated. To explore all of your options, you can hire an attorney who is knowledgeable in family law..

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  48. my boyfriend has a child from a prior relationship. He was there for the first 2 years, she is now 8 so its been approximately 6 years since he seen her. This is because the mother was 17 and he was 19 and when they broke up she filed sexual assault although they were in a consensual relationship. Recently she contacted him and asked him to terminate his rights so her husband who has been there for her over the last 4 years could adopt her. He couldnt see his daughter because they had a criminal no contact order, any time he tried he went to jail. We are willing to go to court and fight, he doesnt want to terminate his rights he wants to be there for his daughter. Can we fight this? Or will a judge look at him and rule him out to be a competent parent because he was not ALLOWED to be there for the last 5 years?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your boyfriend has two options. He can voluntarily agree to terminate his parental rights so the mother's husband can adopt the child or he can refuse to do so and then, if the mother wants to pursue an involuntary termination she can do so and would have to prove a TPR "ground" by clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence. If she does file a TPR action he is entitled to an attorney and can fight against termination. I cannot tell you how a judge would rule because it would depend on all of the evidence.

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  49. what if the father of my children and i are not legally married, but we are only culturally married and I want to move away and take the kids with me, how far can I take the kids away from their biological father without it being a crime? I want to move away to St Paul MN and I currently live in Green Bay, WI. If the move does happen it'll be the end of this year. I will have a place for their to stay and I will be seeking work right away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your question is fraught with many question marks. What does "culturally" married mean? Has the bio father ever been adjudicated by a court? Is there a court order regarding custody and placement? You should consult with a family law attorney to discuss the details of your circumstances.

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  50. what steps do i need to take to start a TPR?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The TPR process is very technical. Consultation with an attorney regarding whether conditions precedent to start an action should be considered.

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  51. I'm the father of a child who was born 9 months ago, which I have never seen and will not have no interest, participation in raising this child, I feel adoption by a more stable family is best for the child but the mother refuses, can I file TPR or will State bring a Involuntary TPR on me for abandonment of 6 or more months of not seeing child?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Courts are reluctant to do a one parent TPR because it relieves the TPR parent from his or her financial responsibility to the child.

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  52. If I have temporary legal custody of 2 little girls and the biological parents have made no contact for 2 years when contact was stipulated in the custody document - How can I legally adopt them without fight from the biological parents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Parental rights must be terminated before an adoption and parents have a right to fight against termination.

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    2. Is it possible to have my three year old daughter fathers visiton terminated she has not seen for eight months his mom took me to court going on five months now thats also when his visitation and child support was set and he has not paid nor exercise his time he has been in and out of her life for three years was not around when i was pregnant and about a year after she was born his name is no where on the birth certificate

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  53. My soon to be x wife and my 14yr old stepdaughter are both German citizens. I have not adopted her. Bio father is German and on BC. Now the wife wants to move back to Germany...she booked for the 30.of April.I don't want my stepdaughter to leave and she also would rather stay here with me and her other 2 (half) siblings. Can we stop her somehow from leaving with my stepdaughter? I'm in Wisconsin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are only her stepfather, you would not have the rights of a biological father. You may want to consult with a lawyer regarding the rights of your 14 year old stepdaughter as well as any you may have vis a vis your wife.

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  54. I was served papers in order to establish paternity, child support, custody, etc in court. The alleged father is convicted of domestic violence against me and has since been arrested for abusing me. He has never helped support her, I have taken care of her from day 1 by myself. It is going on 3 months that he has not tried to see her due to us having no contact. Is this grounds for terminating his parental rights? I don't want any child support or anything to di with him at all. He is very violent and threatened to take my daughter and run away with her. What should I do? I have blocked his number and even changed my number.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your circumstances are quite complicated and involved. You should contact an attorney with expertise in TPR cases to discuss your specific facts.

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  55. My son's birth father has abandoned him (your #5 above). I tried several times a month to contact him, all through email so it is documented, and he won't have any input into my son's life or respond to any emails. I asked him to Skype with our son and his response was "f*** that". He has completely walked away. He was also strangling my son, through his own admittance (your #11 above). I have him on audio tape admitting to this, but that's inadmissible in court, of course, since I didn't tell him I was recording him. I then moved out of state (I have sole custody and placement) to keep my son safe. When I had to return to Wisconsin due to needing familial support, a child support case was opened up since I'm on state aid. I'd prefer to just TPR and have my husband adopt him. If my ex doesn't agree to the TPR voluntarily, how do I get the state to take this matter up?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Rarely does the State undertake a TPR action unless it is seeking to terminate the rights of both the mother and father. In your circumstances, if the birth father will not voluntarily consent to TPR you can start an action, alleging an involuntary ground, and seek involuntary termination. The process can be complicated. Consultation with an attorney with TPR expertise is often most advisable.

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  57. My husbands girlfriend passed away two years ago. When she died there was no will. She was living with her parents and so were the three kids. My husband and her had an on and off relationship but he seen the kids all the time. When she passed my husband was in college and living on campus. Not having a place to take them he let them stay with grandparents. Plus he didn't want to cause any additional stress to the children by making them change schools and such. He has maintained a relationship with the kids but isn't allowed to take them anywhere and can only see them two days a month. As far as we know they have no legal rights to the kids. Can my husband take his kids back legally?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The legal relationship of the children's grandparents is very important. To ferret through the issues your husband should obtain the services of a lawyer.

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  58. My husband had a child with a woman from an affair 16 years ago (who was also married at that time). Through DNA testing it was confirmed that my husband is the father. Since then he has paid child support but has never seen the child because the mother didn't want him to, and he just thought that was easier for everyone involved, unfortunately. The mother and child live in Wisconsin; we live in another state (16 years ago my husband and her husband at the time were in the military ... and obviously young and irresponsible). Anyhow, fast forward ... There was a couple of years where my husband didn't pay because he was going back to school and was unemployed. Other than those couple years, he has always paid. Years later the mother married another man, and filed a petition for my husband to relinquish parental rights. My husband did not contest it, and it was honored. That was about two years ago, but he is still paying child support ... And not just the arrears, the full amount plus the normal arrears payment. However, I think what I am reading here is that he is not obligated to do this once parental rights are terminated. Is that true? If so, how does he go about making sure all his current payments go towards the arrears? Appreciate your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Wisconsin, termination of parental rights ends the obligation to pay child support although that person remains responsible to pay arrears. The law of the state where the child support orders was entered would govern in you husband's case. Your husband should consult with an attorney regarding the law and the specific circumstances of the case. That attorney could then decide what type of motion, if any, to file to straighten out how payments should be credited.

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  59. my wife and i got perminant custody of a 3 mth old boy who is now 5 years old. The bio mother left him at the fathers house going to the store and never returned. The bio father could not care for him so we stepped in and gave him a good home and life. Since then the bio mom has been to jail and moving all over the united states and has told us over the years that she was going to regain custody over him but never tried and has never asked to see him. What would be our chances at having her rights terminated so we can officially adopt him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will depend on the laws in your state regarding termination of parental rights cases. You should consult with a lawyer regarding how to proceed.

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  60. My daughter's father is a registered sex offender and after a dispute with me over stuff he was running his mouth over, has stopped seeing our daughter. There is no child support agreement and our visitation is liberal and reasonable visitation as agreed upon by both parties. How long does him not being a parent have to take place before it's abandonment. Also he had his wife bring all her belongings back to my home a few days after the agruement. He says he won't deal with me to see his daughter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wisconsin Law sets forth various forms of abandonment. One of them, 48.415(1)(a)3, provides that abandonment shall be established if the child has been left by the parent with any person, the parent knows or could discover the whereabouts of the child and the parent has failed to visot or communicate with the child for a period of six months or longer. However , if there is good cause for not visting or communicating that can be a defense. To ascertain if abandonment is present in your situation, given your specific circumstances, you should consult with an attorney with special expertise in termination of parental rights cases.

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  61. If the father of a 3 year old child Has rights and pays child support but hasn't seen the child in 2+ years (even with visitation right) and both parents agree for The father to sign his legal rights off to this child how do you go about this with out a lawyer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most judges are reluctant to terminate the parental rights of just one parent unless it is being done for the purpose of a step parent adoption. You should consult with an attorney with special expertise in termination of parental rights cases about your specific circumstances.

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  62. I had my daughter when I lived in Virginia and I moved out of state when she was 18 months old (she's now 8). I am married and we are residents of Wisconsin. Her biological father has never been around her and I have never filed for any kind of support. He has agreed to voluntarily terminate his rights/sign rights over to my husband but when we went to the court house to start the paperwork, we were told that we needed to file in Virginia. I called the court in Virginia and they told me that didn't make any sense and to try filing in WI again. We are extremely confused and need some direction, please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usually jurisdiction over a child is with the child's "home state." Under Wisconsin Statute Chapter 822. if a child lives in a state for six months that is the child's home state and the state where actions involving the child should be filed. You should consult with an attorney who has special expertise is termination of parental rights cases for a definitive answer as to whether Wisconsin IS you child's home state and the proper state to start your action.

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  63. Is there a way to voluntarily terminate parental rights without having to hire an attorney or go through the court system, other than to have the child adopted? Like some paperwork to be stipulated and agreed by both parties? If so could you please direct me where to go and what papers to retrieve?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Termination and Adoption must both go through the court system. Both actions are complex in substance and procedure. For the best results, an attorney with expertise in this area of the law is very important. People who try to proceed without an attorney have great difficulty and often experience delays and sometimes fail to succeed because the do not comply with all of the statutory mandates required to be me. In terms of accessing the paperwork for both actions, it is available at the courts website: www.wicourts.gov.

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  64. My daughter is four and a half. As of right now, her father and I have joint custody and I have primary placement. The court ordered visitation is every Wednesday from 9am to 1pm. The last time he saw her on "his day" was in July 2013. He has only seen her a handful of times since then; mostly because his father makes him (his father and grandmother see her every once in a while. His grandmother used to take her on the Wednesdays). I am currently filing for a child support review, because it's at $50/month right now (put in place when we were both 16. They wanted him to focus on graduating first). We are both 20 now and I want it set at the 17% of his income. I also want to file for sole custody but I don't know if I have enough to do so. I haven't spoken with him since January; the last time he saw her was in February for some birthday party of a family member. He doesn't even ask about her. He knows nothing about her. I personally feel that there is no need for us to have joint custody if he doesn't take advantage of it. I have been told by a few people that I could possibly have grounds for abandonment but I'm not sure. Could you tell me anything?

    ReplyDelete
  65. Courts are very reluctant to do a one parent TPR unless it is to facilitate a stepparent adoption. For advice as to your circumstances you should consult with a lawyer with expertise in TPR cases.

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  66. My daughter came to live with me in May 2013. The courts ordered joint custody but I have primary placement. In May 2014 her mother was arrested again and has been in jail since. She has not contacted my daughter once. On July 4 2014 I was able to contact the person her mother's son is staying with so the kids could see each other. Her son stayed overnight with us and when I brought him back the the friends house the friend informed me that she has called everyday several times a day to speak with her so. Can this fall under the abandonment 3 month clause.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most judges are reluctant to do a one parent termination unless it is for the purpose of a stepparent adoption. With respect to your specific circumstances you should consult with an attorney who has special expertise in termination of parental rights cases.

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  67. My grand daughter is 12. I have had her since she was 3 months old. My daughter was married when she was born, but her husband is not the child
    s father. he has never seen her, and the father is in fact, unknown. My daughter has never lived with my GD, and had never contributed to her support. My GD has suffered great emotional damage and has abandonment issues. She knows my daughter is her mother. We have no idea where my daughter is now. How can I get permanent custody of my GD?
    I love in Janesville WI

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should consult with an attorney to discuss your options.

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  68. My sister has a child with a man who has been in and out of prision. Her son was less than a month old when he went back into prision for what we believe is going to be 12 years. The child will be 2 at the end of Sept. He has never given her any money for support of the child. Can she file for TPR because he has not been in his childs life and wont be for many years to come?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every case turns on the details and circumstances of each individual case. Your sister should consult with an attorney who has special expertise in termination cases for advice on what she should do in the jurisdiction in which she lives.

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  69. My son's father hasn't seen him or directly spoken to him since March 23rd of this year. He has, however, texted me and has asked how my son is doing. That's the only contact we have, and it's usually only once every two months. Again, he doesn't see my son, and he doesn't pay child support. Could I potentially have a case against him? Did I mention no child support paid ever (we don't have it court ordered) and has only bought diapers five times in 20 months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every case is different and fact intensive. You should consult with an attorney with expertise in termination cases to discuss your particular circumstances.

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  70. My fiancé has 2 daughters ages 11 and 8, they have not seen their mother in over three years she has been in and out of jail for drugs. She recently petitioned the courts for unsupervised visitation, we were ordered to put them in therapy, and they would request a therapeutic setting, the mother never showed up for therapy. The court dismissed her motion. She has not shown any interest in having a relationship with them, I am concerned this can happen again. They don't want a relationship with her. The oldest one has seen her do drugs, and she has been beaten by her with a belt. She has a misdemeanor child abuse charge against her from a different child (not hers). How do we go about terminating her rights so she can not continue to hurt these girls?

    ReplyDelete
  71. I have read through almost every post/question here... and I don't see anyone who has asked this question: My son is 11. There is no name listed on his birth certificate simply because I do not know who his father is. I have had 4 men tested and they all came back negative. I was 17 and stupid back then... but I am now a mother of 4 (with another on the way). I'm married to a wonderful man. We are a religious family, do not smoke or drink.... My husband and I talk about him adopting "my" son, even though he's the only father he's ever had and is OUR son... but we've been told that paternity must be established first. I was told to give the agency a call if something pops into my head. It's been 11 years and I was a messed up individual! If I could give a name, I would. Is there a point where all this legal stuff can be set aside? I'm a law abiding citizen, but in this case I'm upset because the law is what seems to be stopping my family from feeling compltely whole. My son wants the adoption, as do I and my husband. We could change his last name, but to me it's not the same. To our entire family, it's not the same. My son deserves a father and he shouldn't suffer because I was an idiot... My husband is an amazing man... and those two adore each other- I just really pray for a way that we could do this. Any thoughts?
    Thank you in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would suggest that you contact an attorney who has expertise in TPR cases to discuss the TPR laws in your jurisdiction to see if, in your jurisdiction, a private TPR action can be brought against an unknown father. Whether you can bring such an action depends on the laws in your jurisdiction. The law is not uniform throughout the 50 states.

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  72. I volunitarly. terminated the rights to my child. three years ago and his grandmother adopted him is there any way i can get custody back

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Wisconsin, temination, after the time time to appeal has passed, is permanent.

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  73. My sons father has gone without seeing his son for 7 months one time. After seeing him one time after the 7 months, he has now gone almost 3 months without seeing him. I am wondering if I can terminate his rights to my son. I do not think that it is healthy to have a "father" in and out of his life whenever he feels like it. I have heard that in WI you have to have an adoptive parent to be able to terminate the rights. Is that true?
    My sons dad will ask at random times to see my son. Usually every few months, by his own choice. I wrote up an agreement where he can see his son whenever he wants, but I have full placement. He chooses not to see his son but maybe once or twice every few months. That is beyond unhealthy for a child in my opinion and its not fair to my son to have to, at some point, as why dad doesn't want to see him!
    What can I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Courts a re reluctant to do a one parent TPR unless it is being done to facilitate a step parent adoption. However, every case is different. You should consult with an attorney with special expertise in private TPR actions to discuss your circumstances and your options in your jurisdiction.

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  74. I recently signed off my parental rights and was under the assiumption that all of my duties and responsibilities towards the child have been ended. I understand that this means there is no more obligation for me to pay anymore child support. I just received a message from the mother the other day stating that she can't wait for tax season because she will be able to receive the overflow. Meaning that out of the money the federal and state government withhold from my paycheck, she will receive the money that was not needed, or my returns. Is this possible, and how if so, or should I just take it as another one of her tricks to try and upset me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your issue is somewhat complex. First, you need to know the TPR law in your jurisdiction. Second, there may be a distinction regarding money issues pre and post TPR. You may want to consult with an attorney regarding these issues.

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  75. I have a child in my home for two years now. The mother receives assistance from her dad for her but gives no help at all. She also will not sign a temp guardianship paper to me so I can take to Dr etc. Because she is afraid of losing her money. She also is homeless right now and is staying at a mission. So my question is if I have taking care of this child for the past two years can I go and file for guardianship on my own. Even if the mother says no. She dont see her much maybe once or twice a month if that sometimes longer and never buys anything for her or nothing. So I was wondering what my options are

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The circumstances under which a person can obtain guardianship rights is limited. You should contact an attorney regarding your circumstances sinceeach case is different.

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  76. My friend(or I thought she was) hand over her baby to me right at the hospital. We always talked about me adopting the baby. The friend vanish and I have not heard from her. To my surprise a lawyer called me yesterday stating the birth mom wants her baby back. I know legally she has the rights. But is it anything I can do to prevent this? Abandonment charges, maybe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your circumstances are very sad. You should consult with an attorney with special expertise in TPR cases in your jurisdiction regarding the law and options you have under the law.

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  77. What time period does a parent have to be absent to qualify as abandonment? The statute mentions 3 months out of the parents home without contact or 6 months where child is away from parent without contact. I have always had primary physical custody of my son and his father has had sporadic visits with him never overnight just for a few hours and frequently has had period with no contact for several months at a time. Currently he has not contacted our child for over 3 months. The last contact was a text on our sons birthday asking to have our son call him. We tried to call twice but he didn't answer or try to call back. Prior to that text it had been 3 months without contact. My child lives with his stepfather of 6 years siblings and myself. What time period applies to a biological parent having custody of the child and the other parent could visit or communicate but does not?

    ReplyDelete
  78. In Wisconsin, the 3 month abandonment results from a court removing a child from care and custody of a parent because of conduct that is detrimental to a child. It is usually a CHIPS action started by the State or Child Welfare Bureau. The six month abandonment does not require court intervention. However, courts are often unwilling to do a one parent TPR. Since every case is different there is no set answer. Consultation with an attorney who has special expertise in TPR cases is best practice.

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  79. I have a 12 year old son that is completely out of control he is constantly getting thrown out of schools I can't find anyone to watch him nobody wants to deal with him his father does not take interest at all he is violent towards others including younger children I would like to put him in a group home what can I do???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can contact the Child Welfare Bureau in your community and they can advise you as to available options for you to pursue. If you need court intervention, in Wisconsin, a parent can start a JIPS proceeding -- Juvenile in Need of Protection or Services.

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  80. Understand for a new born child is a 15 month period where the foster parents can request adoption of this child.

    But this period is forfeited if the biological mother is serving a prison term. Is this true? Also the biological father, not married to this woman is not being held responsible for child support payments. The state of Wisconsin is picking up all the expenses.

    Not inquiring for myself, but for the foster parents that are showing great love for this child. Case is in Wood County.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The information you relate is not accurate. The foster parents should consult with the DA or the Child Welfare Bureau for accurate information.

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  81. Under the abandonment of 6 months is a ground for involuntary termination of parental rights, for me its been 17months of no involvement, contact, or visitation of child, will courts open up a case for TPR against me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would depend on the totality of the circumstances in the child's life. There is no easy, "one answer fits all" to your question.

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  82. my wife and i got custody of a 4 mth old baby in Georgia. The mother has been in and out of jail and has made no attempts to do her case plan. It has been 5 1/2 years now since we have been granted permanent custody of this child. The father has agreed to let us adopt him but the mother will not agree. She has had another child since then and from what i was told that child has also been taken away from her. What would our chances be at having her parental rights terminated so we can adopt him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It all depends on the Termination of Parental Rights laws in your state. You should consult with a lawyer with expertise in TPR/Adoption cases.

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  83. my sister is engaged to a possible felon he gets sentenced in March can her child's dad use this agents her to he is facing armed robbery charges. thank you for your time and opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If your sister is a "good mother" that is what is most important.

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  84. Hello. First and foremost I want to thank you for doing this . Your page is full of valuable information for people who really need it . Can't imagine all the people you have helped over the years .

    Also I Am taking your advice not in replace of legal advice ; Not from a legal standpoint but as a friendly casual gesture from somebody educated on the subject . I am the father of a 6 year old little girl that knows no other daddy. Birth father hasn't had any contact in any form with birth mom or daughter in 5 years maybe longer . Likely story there was abuse in the household with birth dad against the child's mom . Has not paid any child support and , lives in another state . There is a custody order granted to mom from when she was one and a child support Agreement . We have heard through the grapevine he has looked for us in the past . My daughter only knows me as a dad since she can remember I came into her life when she was 2 . It would traumatize her to know about and meet this guy . Unfortunately Her mom and I are not married so I don't know how simple or even possible this is . I know you say on here they will not relinquish rights of one parent until another will take responsibility . Is marriage the only option here?

    I want to know how can we could be prepared in the highly unlikely event that this person disrupts our daughters life In the mean time? Maybe file a restraining order ?

    Provided we get married in the future and simplify things :

    How do we go about filing with the courts ?
    Can this be done without hiring a lawyer ?
    Can we file the paperwork ourselves ?

    Sometimes we think if he hasn't reached out this long he probably never will and I should just forget about it and let him rack up the child support bill but I feel like my daughter deserves a real father and terminating his rights is the only true way to get rid of him .

    Sorry for the rant ! It's been a long day and this has been eating away at me. Thank you for taking Time out of your day to help us get some sleep at night .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You raise a host of complex, interrelated issues and problems. If you want to proceed without a lawyer, you should check to see if your county has a self help center in your courthouse where you can get assistance and information on how to proceed on your own. However, to avoid failure in navigating the court process you should spend the money on hiring a lawyer with expertise in TPR cases to advise you it you risk serious disappointment.

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  85. I have a 16 year old daughter who is out of control and disrupting our household.If she's not happy she makes sure no one else is.This is affecting the whole household and we are done.What would I need to do to give her away as a ward of the state ???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not awre of any state that would allow a parent to "give their child away." In Wisconsin, a parent can file a Juvenile in Need of Protection or Services and get the courts involved an place orders on the child.

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  86. If I have a court order for child support estblished in MN, Will I have to file a new request if I move with my daugter to Wisconsin? we were never married, I have full/sole legal custody.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Minnesota child-support order should be enforceable in Wisconsin. you should speak with the people in the child support office in the county in Wisconsin where you will be living.

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  87. My parental rights were taken from me by the state because of not being able to get ahold of me I have paid almost all of my back child support off is there anything I can do to reverse an adoption in wi and if so where do I start

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not aware of any adoption reversals in Wisconsin.

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  88. My son is going to be 7 in about 6 weeks and have never met his father. He pays child support but has no custody rights and refuses to even meet our son. I plan on moving out of state in June. Do i still need his permission to move my son out of state?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The issue you raise is addressed in Wisconsin statutes section 767.481.

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  89. I just need some good advice... I have had custody of now this six year old child since he was 4 mths old. Just found out that his bio mother just had another child removed who is 2 yrs old. She is telling everyone that she will work her case plan for both boys which she was suppose to complete 6 years ago. She has not seen him for 6 years. Will it be easy for her to get the 6 year old back since we have had him for 6 years with no contact from her. We are hoping to to terminate her rights this year so we can adopt our 6 yr old...Thanks any advice will be very helpful.

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    1. Every case is different with its own nuances. Every State has its own laws specific to termination of parental rights. The scenario you set forth would seem to favor TPR but you should consult with an attorney with special expertise in TPR cases to discuss your particular circumstances.

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  90. I am currently involved in a visitation/custody case. I was recently served the petition for my 5 yr old daughter. Her father has not seen her since she was 6 wks old, and has never attempted in the last 5 yrs to see her or contact her, even though he could have, his family members chose to. My question is: without specific case advice from you, can i pursue a TPR on him for abandonement and other issues now that he has filed this motion for visitation? Even with his past behavior. without getting into the whole case, i am currently married now with a man who has raised my daughter since i left her father because of abuse and the safety of myself and daughter. My husband would adopt my daughter in a second. Her father has been abusive to me and continued to be with other children and women since, his criminal record is quite long and violent. I believe he is filing this current paperwork in an attempt to hurt me and also because he has a significant debt with the child support agency for our daughter. I am sorry for rambling, but i just need help,and am afraid he could possibly get visitation of my daughter. Thank you in advance for your reply.

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    1. The law regarding termination of parental rights is different in every state. In Wisconsin, your circumstances might constitute abandonment but whether you would prevail depends on all the facts and circumstances surrounding the child, father, father's family, etc. You should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction who has expertise in TPR cases for advice as to how to proceed.

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  91. My son is 10 years old. His father owes ballpark of $37,000 in past support. I have sole custory and physical placement, father has visitation (reasonable times upon reasonable notice, pending my approval). My son goes and spends every other weekend with his paternal Grandmother, but rarely sees his father, estimate of once every 3-5 months. I have been with my husband for 10 years and he has wanted to adopt my son for years. Is that possible in this case? We (my husband and I) have always paid for everything, my son has always resided with us and his 4 siblings....do I have a foot to stand on in court?

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    1. You should discuss your case with an attorney with experience in termination cases in your jurisdiction.

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  92. I have a friend who is an alleged father but wants to give up his rights if he is the father. He still has to take a test to see but does't want to be in the child's life because this is his first time hearing about it and the baby was born a year ago and now they are coming after him. He was never notified that this child was his they as in the mother kept telling everyone that this other guy is the father. My friend has never heard a lot about the child or anything or has never met or never been asked to take a test until now. Also, she kept telling everyone that this guy shes been with took custody of the child sense the baby was born. Hes been in that child's life for a year and my friend would like to give up his rights to this man sense hes been there for day one and has known of this child sense he met this girl. But, if my buddy is the father and wants to give up his rights would he need a lawyer? or would he just be able to say I would like to give up my rights to this other guy that's been in that child's life its whole life?

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    1. The law regarding termination of parental rights varies state to state. Your friend should consult with an attorney in his state to get advice as to what options exist.

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  93. My son is 14 he is autistic and very violent, he hurts his sisters and mother almost every day destroys our house (holes in walls breaks doors ect.) he has even destroyed a car tried to set our house on fire. He was taken out of our home and placed residential with the help of the county because he was so unsafe to be in our home. he was there for almost 2yrs and they kicked him out because he was to unsafe for them there. Now all the county worker keeps telling us is we need to keep him at home and deal with it and call the police when he gets out of control that they have no place for him. We dont want to give up custody of him but what can we do? He is going to seriously hurt one of my girls or worse.

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    1. In Wiscosin, there is a procedure where parents can file an action in juvenile court to get court intervention and services for juveniles with serious issues. It is called a JIPS case (Juvenile in Need of Protection or Services). If you live in Wisconsin, you should contact a lawyer with experience in these types of cases to advise you.

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  94. can I voluntary to terminate my parental rights without the state stepping in to deny it ?

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    1. It depends on the laws regarding termination of parental rights in your state. For example, if a man wants to voluntarily give up his parental rights so the mother's husband (stepfather) can adopt, there usually is no problem. However, if a man want to voluntarily give up parental rights to avoid paying child support, that is usually a problem. You should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding your circumstances.

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    2. It depends on the laws regarding termination of parental rights in your state. For example, if a man wants to voluntarily give up his parental rights so the mother's husband (stepfather) can adopt, there usually is no problem. However, if a man want to voluntarily give up parental rights to avoid paying child support, that is usually a problem. You should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding your circumstances.

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  95. My daughter's mother has been going through a lot of litigation lately. Since her legal issues I have requested full custody placement and am awaiting a hearing we have joint custody but she has primary placement and I now live in Florida. She just recently been incarcerated and now my daughter is by her grandparents. Can I go to Wisconsin and get my child until the hearing even though the court requested she stay in Wisconsin until after court?

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    1. The facts of your case are rather complicated. You should consult with a lawyer with experience in family law matters to consult with you and represent your interest.

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  96. If the father signs a voluntary paternity acknowledgement and goes through mediation would the information show up on WI CCAP? He doesn't want to be in the child's life and doesn't want everyone knowing he's the father

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    1. It all depends on how detailed an entry is made by the court clerk.

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    2. What are some of things that would cause a detailed entry?

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    3. The amount of detail is left up to the court clerk. Some make more detailed entries than others.

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  97. My ex-husband has not seen our daughter or given me and child support (which has never been asked for) in almost 3 years. I would like to relinquish his parental rights at this time. I am worried that is something were to happen to me that she would end up with a stranger because of his legal rights. My first question is, would this be considered child abandonment in Wisconsin? My second question is, how do I start the process? We are moving to Iowa in three weeks and would like to move as fast as I can with the process. I realize that I will most likely not be able to finish it by the time we move, but would like to get as far as I can. Would you please point me in the right direction (who to contact or what forms to fill out at this time?) I do not have a current address for her father and he is unwilling to communicate with me by phone. Thank you in advance!

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  98. Termination is not a quick or easy process - not something you can accomplish in three weeks. You should consult with an attorney with expertise in TPR cases.

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  99. What if my sons dad claimed he would be involved, so the court agreed to less than 17% for child support, and now he has not seen or talked to my son for over 4 years. I tried to have the support adjusted but the county said nothing needed to be changed. All I was requesting was the full 17%. Would I be able to have my sons dad's rights involuntarily taken away, and he still pay child support?

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    1. If a parent's parental rights are terminated, that parent will still be responsible for any child support arrearage, if any, but will not have any obligation to pay child support going forward.

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  100. My husbands cousin had her parental rights terminated in the state of California and they were adopted. She stated that she didn't know that they were being adopted out. So my assumption is that for at least 15 of 22 months she had not contact with her mother who had custody and eventually adopted the children, nor contact with the courts etc.The adoptive parent and kids moved to Idaho and then some time later the bio parent moved to Idaho too and had had the children living with her without any kind of consent from the courts. Is this legal? And I also wondered if there was any kind of National Data Base kept for that kind of information of TPR. My concern is that she is now a licensed Social Worker for the State of Idaho. I understand that some people change and I commend them for their actions, but this is not the case here, she has just managed to become more manipulative (in my opinion of my knowledge of her actions). How would I go about filing a formal complaint against The Health and Welfare Dept for allowing my kids to be placed with her temporarily when this information should be easily accessed, along with no investigation of her actions to insure that change had taken place. If they had done so it would have been apparent that she lied on so many of the questions they ask.

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    1. You should consult with an attorney who is familiar with the laws in the States where the TPR and adoption occurred.

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  101. four years ago i got a call from my sister stating she was having a baby and if i wanted her or else she would leave in the hospital. I drove all the way to Miluwakee to pick her up and had her ever since then. I have had permanent guardianship for four years. My sister is willing to terminate her right but my question to you is how do i terminate the father rights me nor the child never met it was a 1night stand with him and my sister so she dont even know him what advice can you give me.

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    1. It can be done. You should contact an attorney with TPR experience to help you navigate the process.

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  102. I'm currently in the state of Wisconsin (Milwaukee county) and my sons father says he will voluntarily sign over his rights. But where do we go/how do we go about this? My fiancé wants to adopt him, although we are not yet married I know in the state of Wisconsin I believe we have to be before he can adopt him. So my major questions are who do we contact or where do we go for him to voluntarily sign over his rights? Also, do my fiancé and I have to be married for a certain length of time before he can adopt? Thank you in advance for any answers!

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    1. Every case is different. You should consult with an attorney with expertise in TPR cases for counsel regarding your TPR quesitons and adoption questions.

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  103. Thank you, but where do we begin as far as starting the process of terminating his rights? Just downtown to the courthouse?

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    1. No. You go to the Children's Court Center at 10201 W. Watertown Plank Rd. in Wauwatosa.

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  104. Can a divorce be finalized with the children in state custody on a CHIPS order and TPR being pursued by CPS? The husband is not the biological father of the kids but he's considered so because he's married to the mother.

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    1. Every state has it's own family code. In Wisconsin, the fact a child is in state custody ordinarily would not prevent the finalization of a divorce. That issue would be address in the custody/placement order. However, no two cases are alike.

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  105. Hi. I have an odd situation. I gave my daughter up for adoption three years ago to a wonder family. I told them I would be their surrogate (traditional, adoptive mom can’t). We have moved forward and have seen an attorney. The contract we made by ourselves had everything it needed to have (except for monetary limits on purchases). They aren’t paying me directly. Do we actually need attorneys? Mind you, we have an extremely open relationship and already knew everything this attorney had said. In my mind, after the baby is born, we can set up a TPR hearing and I can terminate my rights. The attorney said that was ok, but the court system does not like this.

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    1. Surrogacy-TPR-Adoption cases can get very technical. You should consult with an attorney who specializes in surrogacy cases in order to "cross the t's and dot the i's". Even a very open relationship can become strained and fall apart and the child could be put in the middle of a very unsettling and nasty custody dispute.

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    2. We've already met with an attorney; he said our contract was very tight. I'm wondering about self-representation and going forward with a TPR like we did with the adoption. Will that be acceptable to the court system? We will be getting this contract notarized. Thank you very much.

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    3. You can go pro se if you want. There is no requirement that you have an attorney.

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  106. What if the father is going for a dna but doesnt want anything to do with the child and the mother. And wants to just give up rights and doesnt want to pay child support and the mother has agreed to do so. He doesnt visit or contact the mother. Or says he is coming and never shows

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    1. In Wisconsin, only a court can terminate parental rights and it is based on the existence of circumstances which constitute "grounds" to terminate. The mere fact that one parent wants to terminate and the other agrees is not binding on the court. The court must make a decision based on the best interest of the child, no what the parents want or agree to.

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    2. In Wisconsin, only a court can terminate parental rights and it is based on the existence of circumstances which constitute "grounds" to terminate. The mere fact that one parent wants to terminate and the other agrees is not binding on the court. The court must make a decision based on the best interest of the child, no what the parents want or agree to.

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  107. I want to give up my rights as the father and my exs husband wants to adopt her . We are in marinette county wi. Where do we start???

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    1. You should contact a local attorney to help you navigate the legal system.

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    2. Thanks but I was hoping for information I didn't already know. Like where to start without involving attorney

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    3. Check with the clerk of courts in your county. They may have A clinic that helps pro se people

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  108. When our adopted daughter was 15 we agreed to terminate our rights as we needed to protect our other children from her due to her mental illness, We didn't know her issues until AFTER the adoption. We were not told this would result in a charge of abandonment on our record or we would not have agreed. We thought we were also doing the best thing for her. Is there any way to get this off our record? Thank you.

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