I have represented numerous clients when it comes to the termination of parental rights. I have fought hard for many of them at trial to save their rights to their children. It is a difficult and strenuous task for a lawyer to defend a parent from losing their child. Under family code section 7822 the courts strictly construe the interpretation of the statute which seems to be a detriment to the parent. There is a strong adherence to the 1 year rule which states that if you did not support your child for a year or more you will be deemed to have abandoned your child. Thus the State of California has strict adherence to the statute where financial support is vital to proving termination of parental rights.
In addition, the statute also states that you must not abandon your child for more than a year without contacting them. It must be shown that there is not intent to reconnect with your child. This element of termination is very subjective and objective. Often the Judge will look at the relationship the parent had with the child. Was it constant or intermittent? Was there true attempts to contact the child during the one year period? In addition, there will be an investigation that is undergone by the department of social services to see if the relationship is broken down by the child and the parent. This is important because if there is no relationship that is salvageable then the one year rule can be strictly construed more to whether contact was made during the one year or not. If there is a decent relationship then the one year rule might not be so strictly construed.
Furthermore, the Court will look at the Intent of the parent to place the child in the custody of the other parent. If a parent intended to place custody with the other parent to relinquish their custodial time with the child then the Court will justify more that there was a attempt to not have contact with the other parent.
Ultimately the Court must assess whether all these factors will warrant the termination of someone’s parental rights. Therefore if you are a parent that finds themselves in a situation where you have lost contact with your child be aware of the consequences of your parental obligations and rights about the legal ramifications of how the state of California strictly constues the family law code section 7822.