Many states consider abandoning a child to be a form of child abuse and classify the desertion of a child as a felony. Child abandonment can be both a civil and a criminal issue in the state of California, with a number of laws protecting the safety of minors and the connected consequences for betraying that safety.

If you suspect a child has not received adequate care from a parent or guardian, you will need to prove it in order for the law to step in. Child abuse and child abandonment have numerous offenses under their respective umbrellas.

What Constitutes Child Abandonment in California?

The following are examples of child abandonment in the state of California:

  • A parent leaves their child for a year with the other parent and has made no attempt to contact the child.
  • A parent leaves their child with any other person for months without attempting communication with the child.
  • Failing to maintain regular visitation rights with the child for half a year.
  • Leaving an infant on the street, sidewalk, or in the garbage.
  • Leaving a child home alone for a substantial amount of time without adult supervision.
  • Being unwilling to provide care or support to a child.

California does not take kindly to any parent who endangers their child or knowingly puts their child in an unsafe situation. They may face criminal charges.

What Punishments Might the Offending Party Face?

Child neglect is a misdemeanor that could result in jail time, a fine, and probation. Child abandonment is a felony that could lead to years in prison, harsher fines, and probation.

You may not have to go to court to prove child abandonment, but the court will likely be necessary if you seek to terminate a parent’s visitation and custody rights. If the parent agrees to give up their rights, the process will be easier and cheaper for all. Otherwise, the courts will carefully protect parental rights and the case to terminate a father’s or mother’s parental rights could be long and hard-fought.

Can a Family Law Professional Help Me?

Whether fighting to keep your rights or terminate the rights of an irresponsible parent, it is strongly recommended that you seek the legal advice of a family rights attorney. To prove child abandonment, one must submit testimony to the law with their claims, and then it is up to the accused party to prove otherwise.

Child abandonment is an emotionally damaging act. The case to prove it can be just as difficult. The courts will not dismiss a parent’s rights on the slightest accusations. A tight case will be needed to prove child abandonment. A family attorney is your best ally in child custody cases. The Bains Law Offices have experience in these cases and can help you and the child.