Child Abandonment Lawyer

 
See more child custody & support related topics

One of the most serious accusations you can deal with as a parent is child abandonment. The penalties for this offense can be severe. If you were your child’s custodial parent and a court finds that you physically abandoned your son or daughter, or if you were your child’s non-custodial parent and you failed to provide financial support, you could be charged with a crime and have your parental rights revoked.

If you have been accused of child abandonment or you need to prove your child’s other parent abandoned them, you are going to need an experienced and skilled child abandonment lawyer in North Carolina. Attorney Jonathan Breeden understands that these situations can be legally and emotionally difficult. He will guide through this situation with compassion.

To learn more about your rights and legal options, contact a family attorney from Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970, or through our online form.

What is Child Abandonment?

You face charges for abandoning your child if you voluntarily do not provide them with necessary care. This could include failing to provide your son or daughter with shelter, clothing, food, and/or medical care. You may be accused of willfully deserting your child and leaving them entirely. You may have left your child in the care of their other parent, in the care of another family member or adult, or left them without supervision for an inappropriate amount of time. You can also be accused of abandonment if you are not responsible for your child’s daily care, yet you do not contribute financially to their support.

If someone alleges that you physically or financially abandoned your child, you should speak with a child abandonment lawyer in North Carolina right away. You will have to fight to retain your parental rights and have contact with your son or daughter.

Abandonment as a Form of Neglect

North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) §7B-101(15) defines a neglected juvenile as one who:

  • Does not receive proper care from their caretaker
  • Has been abandoned
  • Does not receive necessary and proper medical care
  • Lives in a harmful environment
  • Has had their custody illegally transferred
  • Has been placed up for adoption in violation of the law

If a court determines you abandoned and neglected your child, there can be devastating civil and criminal consequences. Your son or daughter may be removed from your custody by the Division of Social Services (DSS), and you will become subject to a DSS investigation. Your child could be placed with their other parent, another family member, or in foster care. Getting your son or daughter back could take a great deal of time and require you to make several changes in your life. If your child’s other parent gains full custody, you may owe them financial support.

If you are currently being accused of neglect or abandonment, call a child abandonment lawyer in North Carolina right away. Our experienced lawyers at Breeden Law Office can represent you during a DSS investigation and child custody battle.

Criminal Child Abandonment Laws in NC

Under North Carolina law, there are certain circumstances in which abandoning your child may be a crime. These offenses typically arise when you refuse to pay child support for a child you acknowledge to be yours, or whose paternity has been established.

NCGS §14-322 outlines abandonment and failure to suppose spouse and child. Any parent who willfully neglects or refuses to provide adequate support for their child is guilty of a misdemeanor. Under NCGS §14-322.1, you can be charged with a class I felony if you:

  • Abandon your child for six months
  • Fail or refuse to provide support during that six-month period
  • Attempt to conceal your whereabouts with the intent of escaping your support obligation

The law requires you to share in the financial responsibility associated with raising a child. If you do not provide the support your child and their custodial parent are entitled to, you face both civil and criminal consequences.

Abandonment of an Infant

There are specific circumstances under which abandoning a newborn will not be charged as a crime. Based on NCGS §14-322.3, if you abandon an infant less than seven days old by voluntarily delivering the child to a health care provider, a law enforcement officer, a social worker, or an emergency medical service worker, and you express that you do not intend to return, then you will not be prosecuted.

Abandonment Can Lead to a Loss of Parental Rights

One of the most extreme outcomes of an allegation of abandonment is the involuntary loss of your parental rights. Under NCGS §7B-1111, a North Carolina court can terminate your parental rights without your consent for a number of reasons, including:

  • You abused or neglected your child, and a juvenile court deemed your son or daughter to be a neglected juvenile
  • You left your child in foster care or a placement outside of your home for more than 12 months without showing progress in modifying the problems that led to their removal
  • Your son or daughter was placed in DSS custody, foster care, or an agency or institution, and for six months you failed to pay a reasonable portion of your child’s care
  • Your child’s other parent was granted custody, and you did not provide financial support for one year
  • You abandoned your son or daughter for six consecutive months, or you abandoned your infant for at least 60 days

If your parental rights are terminated, it ends your legal duties in relation to your child. However, it also ends your ability to have a relationship with your son or daughter. Once your parental rights are revoked, your child’s other parent, custodian, or guardian has the right to block any contact between you two.

When you receive notice that your child’s other parent or social services has asked a court to terminate your parental rights and you wish to fight it, call a child abandonment lawyer in North Carolina as soon as you can.

How to Prove Child Abandonment

At Breeden Law Office, we have worked with parents whose children have been physically and financially abandoned by their other mother or father. In this situation, it is essential to prove abandonment if the custodial parent wishes to legally obtain sole physical and legal custody or wishes to have the other parent’s parental rights revoked. We also commonly see this situation when a stepparent wishes to adopt a child.

If you wish to ask a court to terminate your child’s other parent’s parental rights, we must be able to prove that the other parent committed abandonment by clear and convincing evidence. This may include:

  • Documentation that you have not received any financial support from the other parent for a significant period of time, such as more than six months or one year.
  • Testimony that the other parent has not had contact with the child for a significant time.
  • Testimony that you have not been able to contact the other parent for a significant amount of time.
  • An order showing a juvenile court found the child to be neglected by the other parent.

If this is a route you’d like to take, contact a child abandonment lawyer in North Carolina from our firm right away.

Let a Child Abandonment Attorney Help You

When it comes to accusations of child abandonment, attorney Jonathan Breeden understands that most parents want to do the best they can in a challenging situation. It may be that you are not currently capable of caring for your son or daughter, yet you are taking steps to improve your situation. We have also handled situations in which abandonment is clear, and it is time for you and your child to move forward in life. If the right step is to ask the court to terminate the other parent’s rights, we will walk you through this process every step of the way.

To speak with a child abandonment lawyer in North Carolina about your situation, use the online contact form, or call (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation.

Call Breeden Law Office today:

(919) 296-3978
 
 

Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden

Download