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Abandonment - Parental Abandonment Of Children

laws parents adoption rights

Parental abandonment of children is different from other cases of abandonment in that it involves a person rather than property. Abandonment of children is a criminal CAUSE OF ACTION under most state laws. In the civil context, it arises when a court decides to terminate the natural rights of the parent on the grounds of abandonment to allow ADOPTION.

In a criminal context, abandonment of children is defined as actually abandoning a child, or failing to provide necessities of living to a child. In California, for example, a parent is guilty of abandonment if they fail to provide "necessary clothing, food, shelter or medical attendance, or other remedial care for their child." A parent is required to accept their minor child into their home, or provide alternative shelter. Parents in California are also punished for "desertion with intent to abandon." These laws are typical of most states.

In the late 1990s, the issue of baby abandonment in the United States came to a head as a result of several high profile cases. These cases prompted 38 states to pass so-called "safe haven laws." The laws decriminalize baby abandonment by allowing mothers to leave their unharmed babies at a designated "safe." location such as a hospital, fire station, or licensed child-placing agency. The laws include a time frame, beginning from the baby's birth, in which abandonment may take place; the time frame varies from state to state, ranging from 72 hours up to one year.

In a civil context, abandonment of a child is usually ruled on by a court to facilitate an adoption. State courts employ various guidelines to determine if a child has been abandoned. In an action for adoption on the ground of abandonment, the petitioner generally must establish conduct by the child's natural parent or parents that shows neglect or disregard of parental duties, obligations, or responsibilities. They must also show an intent by the child's parent or parents to permanently avoid parental duties, obligations, or responsibilities. Some jurisdictions require an actual intention of the parents to relinquish their rights to find abandonment, but most allow a finding of abandonment regardless of whether the parents intended to extinguish their rights to the child.

Abandonment - Further Readings [next] [back] Abandonment - Elements Of Abandonment

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about 4 years ago

my daughter inlaw walked out on my granddaughter in October of last year me and my husband and our son have provided a loving home and all medical and personal needs ,now I have a feeling that she is going to try to come back and try to take her from us ,

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about 10 years ago

This is a serious situation I raised my sister in law since she was about four her parent divorce and abandon her in an appartment at this time I was 18 years old and the whole world to look at. I married her brother and she moved in with us she had several issuse to deal with emoitional physical and school the feeling of being unwanted sad how could this happen to her what did she do wrong. It took many years to get over come but she has been a blessing to me and my family she is now in college and living on her own and provides for her self. I would have never changed anything.

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over 10 years ago

My dad gave me over to my memaw. Then to my Aunt Cindy.. I havent lived with him for a year and a half.. I couldnt stand going back to live with my dad. But i hate living with my aunt.. What do children in this case do. Is it called abandoment from the dad to the child in this case.. Seeing as my aunt Cindy doesnt have full custody of me..

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almost 11 years ago

What about parental abandonment of children after they are born? Isn't this the same thing. Does it only count if it is a baby?