Questions Regarding Child Abandonment

“What is the legal process of filing for abandonment of a child if the child’s father is not on the birth certificate? Or is there anything to do at all since he is not on the certificate.”

Generally, Louisiana law does not provide a means by which a the legal relationship between a parent and child can be legally severed or “abandoned.” There are two main exceptions to this rule. The first exception is in cases of adoption where there is a new parent ready to immediately replace the biological parent. In that situation, a biological parent’s rights can be deemed abandoned for things like no contact with the child for six months and non-payment of child support for six months (see Children’s Code Art. 1245). Of course, a biological parent can voluntarily surrender their parental rights in an adoption process as well. The second exception is cases of abuse or neglect where the state has stepped in and placed the children in foster care. If the biological parent does not participate with the state’s plan to reunite the parents and children, then the state will terminate the parent’s rights and place the children in the states foster care/adoption system. Otherwise, a parent’s rights generally cannot be completely severed due to no contact or not being involved in the child’s life. Further, as a practical matter, if the father’s name is not on the birth certificate, then the father has no proof that he is the child’s father. The father can remedy this by legally establishing his paternity through a process called filiation (See Civ. Code Art. 198). It should be noted that any child born of a mother who is legally married to anyone at the time of birth is legally presumed to be the child of the husband regardless of what the birth certificate says.

Are you faced with a similar situation and don’t know what to do? Contact the Law Offices of Tony Morrow today, we are here to help!

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