Child Abandonment

I have two children with a man to which I was married. I have not seen him in 6 1/2 years. I was able to get an absolute divorce by hiring a private investigator to serve him papers after finally finding him in Georgia. Custody was never involved, but now I want to address this issue. I am concerned that the school says that by law the biological father can pick up the kids at anytime. The kids do not know him at all and believe their step father to be “daddy”. I have no indication that the biological father would do this, but want to cover all my bases in the off chance that it comes up. What is the best way to begin this process without really knowing where he is? Would I need to hire a private investigator to find him again and serve him custody papers? Or is there a way to get custody without his signature due to his abandonment of them? Im not sure where to begin or what my rights are as their mother.

A parent cannot terminate their parental rights voluntarily. A court will have to make a finding that a termination of the father’s parental rights are in the child’s best interests before an Order can be issued. As the mother, you will need to file an action to terminate the father’s rights. While his consent will be helpful, it is not determinative of the issue. You will need to file an action for termination of parental rights. There is no standard form for this action. I suggest you contact a lawyer that practices in this area to initiate the process. You will likely need to use an investigator to track him down again, whether you go for a TPR or you file for sole custody.