Terminating Parental Rights in Florida

by Anonymous from Broward County, Florida

My child's father and I were not married, however, he did sign the birth certificate and she has his last name. He has never consistently been her life and she has never been alone with him.

She is 6 years old and he has been out of her life more than in her life.

He is now serving a long prison sentence and has never paid child support. I am financially stable with a career and want to know if my circumstances would allow me to terminate any parental rights he has or could potentially have if he were to get out early.

We keep in contact through letters. He is unfit with past drug addictions and a repeat offender. Please let me know my legal options.

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Anonymous,

The state of Florida allows termination of parental rights based on certain grounds and circumstances that are similar to yours.

The following is the governing statute and an excerpt of one of the provisions:

Florida Statutes 39.806 Grounds for termination of parental rights.—

(d) When the parent of a child is incarcerated in a state or federal correctional institution and either:

1. The period of time for which the parent is expected to be incarcerated will constitute a substantial portion of the period of time before the child will attain the age of 18 years;

2. The incarcerated parent has been determined by the court to be a violent career criminal as defined in s. 775.084, a habitual violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084, or a sexual predator as defined in s.
775.21; has been convicted of first degree or second degree murder in violation of s. 782.04 or a sexual battery that constitutes a capital, life, or first degree felony violation of s. 794.011; or has been convicted of an offense in another jurisdiction which is substantially similar to one of the offenses listed in this paragraph. As used in this section, the term “substantially similar offense” means any offense that is substantially similar in elements and penalties to one of those listed in this subparagraph, and that is in violation of a law of any other jurisdiction, whether that of another state, the District of Columbia, the United States or any possession or territory thereof, or any foreign jurisdiction; or

3. The court determines by clear and convincing evidence that continuing the parental relationship with the incarcerated parent would be harmful to the child and, for this reason, that termination of the parental rights of the incarcerated parent is in the best interest of the child.

You should read the entire statute and seek the advice of an attorney on how to proceed. Good luck.

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Comments for Terminating Parental Rights in Florida

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Child born in PA. but lives in FL now.
by: Anonymous

My ex-wife and I separated right before she got pregnant.While I was in jail after she had the baby she had a lawyer bring me papers to sign for our divorce and for the child in question. I signed 2 forms and one was giving my rights away to said child since I new he was my brothers child and not mine. The lawyer never filed my termination of parental rights. I have requested for the last 14 yrs from PA and FL for a DNA test but I am being denied. My ex wife also refuses to allow a DNA test or for me to see the said child in question. How do I go about forcing FL or the mother to allow me my right to see if this child is mine. She signed my name to the birth certificate. Anything you can suggest. My finance has been looking and finally came across you guys and another group. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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