Oregon Law: Can a Father Lose Rights for Abandonment?

By Roger Jewell

Generally, proceedings to terminate a father’s parental rights are brought by the state of Oregon in juvenile court. While the state’s purpose for filing for termination of a father’s rights is the protection of the child’s best interests, there are reasons why a private individual may bring such an action.

Purpose of State Parental Rights Termination Proceedings

The Oregon Department of Human Services usually brings parental rights termination proceedings for a child in its custody that is to be placed with another guardian or with the other parent. The state may also bring such an action to assist in the adoption of the child by another individual or parent. Such an action only terminates the parent named in the proceeding and does not affect the rights of any unnamed parent.

Why Private Individuals May Bring Termination Proceedings

The most common reason a private individual may pursue a parental termination action is so that a party, other than the natural father, can adopt the child. The second most common reason for a private individual terminating a father’s rights is to prevent him from visiting the child.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Abandoned Child Defined

Oregon statutes provide that an abandoned child is a child left under circumstances in which the identity of his parent is unknown and cannot be ascertained, despite a diligent search, and the parent has not come forward to claim the child for at least three months. In actions brought by the state, the court will permit a parent accused of abandonment to assert a defense justifying why the abandonment occurred.

Proving Abandonment

A court hearing must be held on the question of termination of parental rights at least 10 days after, and no later than six months after, the filing of a petition by the Department of Human Services to terminate a father’s parental rights. Abandonment must generally be proven by “clear and convincing proof.” In cases where the child is a Native American, the standard of proof is abandonment “beyond a reasonable doubt” and that serious physical or emotional harm to the child may result without such a court order. Testimony from the child may be taken if the court elects to compel it. Such testimony may be taken outside the presence of the child’s parents; however, legal counsel for the parent may not be precluded from witnessing the child’s testimony. The court will make written findings and the court’s order can be the subject of appeal. The court is required to appoint legal counsel for any parent who cannot afford an attorney in a termination of parental rights proceeding.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Child Custody & Drug Testing


Related articles

Do Minors Need Parental Permission Under the Pennsylvania Name Change Laws?

Pennsylvania law provides for name changes of minors either by changing the minor's birth certificate or by a court order. Pennsylvania’s name change processes require parental consent in most situations. However, there is no Pennsylvania law requiring parental consent for a court-ordered name change. Further, Pennsylvania courts have granted a child’s name change without parental consent, for example, in cases where the child is no longer in his parents’ legal custody.

Legal Guardianship for an Incompetent Parent

A guardian is a party who undertakes legal responsibility and authority for the care of someone else, known as a ward. An adult can become a ward only if he is declared legally incompetent. If your parent is a victim of a disability that prevents him from meeting his basic needs, you may petition a court to appoint a guardian.

Custodial Interference During the Divorce in Arizona

Working out a custody arrangement can be the most difficult part of any divorce involving minor children. Prior to filing for custody in court and during litigation, each parent must allow the other parent access to the child and refrain from withholding contact, even when there is no court-approved custody arrangement in place. In Arizona, denying a parent legal access without justification is known as "custodial interference" and can result in fines and imprisonment.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Terminating Father's Rights in Michigan

The termination of a father's rights is a legal process that severs all ties the father has to the child. The father ...

How to Absolve Parental Rights in Ohio When Parents Are Divorced

Ohio courts typically split custody between divorcing parents in a manner they feel is best for the children. Though ...

Can an Open Drug Case Affect Child Custody in GA?

A parent's illegal drug use can factor into custody and visitation determinations in Georgia. The degree to which a ...

Terminating Visitation Due to Incarceration

If your ex-spouse ends up in jail, he can’t have normal visitation with your children, but he doesn’t necessarily lose ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED