Petition to Terminate Parental Rights - Harassment as a result

Long story, but I’ll try to keep it short. I’m leaving out a lot of contributing details, but it is still long.

  • By default, I’ve had full physical custody of my 13 year old since birth.
  • I met and married her father abroad.
  • He moved home to his country after our child’s birth.
  • I moved home to the US with our child when she was 18 months old.
  • He came to the US 18 months later. (She was 3 years, 2 months.)
  • I tried to make it work for our child’s sake but after 8 months, there was no fooling myself. I was miserable and he was not committed.
  • He couldn’t afford to move out, so we remained in the same apartment in separate bedrooms for another 10 months. The lease was in my name only and I was paying everything - rent, utilities, etc.
  • I moved out with our child one night when he was passed out drunk. (There was no physical violence, but he was gambling and I sensed he was desperate.)
  • He has never contributed financially to support our child, not even a penny to the household in all the years we shared one.
  • After 3.5 years of living apart, I discovered how to file for a divorce without a lawyer, which I could not afford. Filing by myself, I couldn’t get a custody agreement. (I’d had a free consultation with a lawyer and he said that without a custody arrangement, the status quo would continue. The status quo was that I had full physical custody and gave him unhindered visitation.)
  • After another 2 years, I decided to look for work abroad again, but I didn’t start the job hunt without his approval to take our child overseas. (I make better money abroad and have fewer expenses, and my daughter would go to a world class school, tuition paid.)
  • I did not accept my current job offer until he signed an affidavit agreeing for her to get a new passport. At the same time, I had him sign an affidavit that she could travel with me for the next 5 years as long as I maintained my employment with my current employer. This was in case I needed to show it at borders, such as I did when I entered Canada with her.
  • Before we left the US but after he had given his consent for her to leave, he tried to extort me to co-sign on a house for him. I refused. He said he would contact the TSA and stop us from leaving the US unless I signed.
  • About a month later, he demanded to take our child for the weekend. this was about a month before our scheduled departure. He said he would pick her up in the morning and I had prepared her to go.
    He didn’t show up until that night and he was upset with me that I was not cooperating with him about something else he wanted from me, so he demanded I meet her at the police station.
    I met him there, but when he tried to take her, she was screaming that she didn’t want to go. (She never wanted to go with him because she said all he did was stay on his computer all day, but I always compelled her to. It was only for a few hours or possibly overnight, and only 3 or 4 times a year, so I felt she could put up with the boredom. However, on this day she had witnessed the ambulance take my father to the hospital 30 minutes before the pick-up time, and she was very upset, so she was not at all cooperative.) When he saw her screaming that she didn’t want to go with him, he stormed off.
  • He did not answer my invitation to come for lunch a few days later.
  • When she called him on his birthday three weeks later, he told her he didn’t want to see her because he was angry that she had rejected him. (She was 10.)
  • We moved abroad a week later without him seeing her.
  • He did not answer her calls in the next month after our arrival.
  • After 8 months, we re-established contact because he needed something from me.
  • He said he had refused our daughter’s calls because he didn’t like the way I had “sneaked” her out of the country.
  • Contact was sporadic after that, but civil on my side and mostly civil on his.
  • We returned home on vacation after 10 months abroad.
  • When I contacted him to see when he wanted to take her, he said he couldn’t as he had moved 1300 miles away. I had told him when we would be getting back, and he had moved within days before our arrival without any notice to us.
  • Contact remained sporadic for the next 8 months or so. I sent pictures of her on our travels.
  • Last January, I received a request from him to “borrow” $600 so he would not be evicted.
  • I “loaned” him the money because 1.) I didn’t want him on the streets in the middle of winter (sub zero weather where he had relocated) and 2.) because I needed to keep him cooperative in case I needed to renew our daughter’s passport. (Until she is 16, we need both parents’ consent. Her passport expires at 15.5 years old, but we would need to renew it at just at 14.5 in order to get the visa for our current country for the next calendar year if we decided to stay at that time.)
  • Two weeks after I “loaned” him the $600, (he was never going to pay it back and we both knew that) I received a barrage of phone calls on my google number (which I couldn’t answer since I was working) and numerous emails which indicated that he had completely lost his mind. He was totally paranoid, believing that there was a wide conspiracy to destroy him, according to him probably led by his former employers (two different ones) who were jealous of his talent. He revealed that was why he had moved 1300 miles away.
  • The conspiracy included shopkeepers, his apartment manager, and according to him probably me and some imagined boyfriend or new husband I had.
  • He demanded I tell him what was going on and stop the campaign to kill him.
  • In retrospect, I could see that there had been symptoms for years that he was a bit off, but I had just thought he was normal crazy. Not clinically crazy.
  • I panicked. I feared he would be institutionalized by the time we needed to renew her passport. So, I told him her passport had been misplaced and I needed his affidavit to replace it asap. He refused, not because he wanted her to move back to the US (which, if she didn’t have a passport she wouldn’t have been able to do anyway), but because his signature might be intercepted and used against him. (I know it was wrong of me to lie, but I was at a loss and I reacted in fear.)
  • Finally, after lots of protestations that his life was in danger and this was all part of the conspiracy and I should watch out because now they were coming for her, he said he would do it, but he needed money to pay the notary and the shipping to send me the notarized form.
  • I said that I would pay for the notary and shipment fees through a UPS Store in his neighborhood, and once I received the affidavit, I would send him some money to help him out.
  • He sent me two emails denying asking for the money and claiming his email had been hacked. This was March 7.
  • I didn’t hear from him again until July 12 when he demanded the new insurance card for his car and also that I bring our daughter to see him. He knew we were in the US and he castigated me for not contacting him.
  • Another long story, but the short of it is that he is driving a car that is in my name, that I pay for every month, and that I insure, and he needed the new insurance card.
  • He uses the car to drive for either Uber or Lyft or both, so he has to keep the insurance up to date. The insurance was renewing on July 19, so he needed the new card. I suspect if this were not the case, we wouldn’t have heard from him at all.
  • As soon as I arrived in the US in mid June, I had consulted a lawyer about getting full legal custody so that I wouldn’t need to depend on his whims to replace her passport when the time came.
  • The lawyer said we could terminate his parental rights since he had not provided financial support for a period of 6 months (actually 13 years) and had not made contact for a period of 6 consecutive months. (There have been several years in which we didn’t hear from him for over 6 months, most recently the 8 months from when we left the US until he needed a personal recommendation from me.)
  • I began the petition.
  • When I responded to his demand that I bring her 1300 miles to see him by stating that I couldn’t bring her to him but that he was welcome to come see her in our home state, he said he would not come to our state.
  • He demanded a phone number for her.
  • I bought a US sim card for her and sent him the number that very day, but I didn’t send him the insurance card at that time.
  • He demanded to know whose number I had given him and he demanded my number. I told him it was her number and did not give him mine.
  • He accused me of kidnapping our child and threatened to sue for custody.
  • He contacted my sister-in-law asking for my number. She ignored him.
  • He accused me of keeping our child from him. He accused me of ruining his life and putting him in financial difficulty. He accused me again of being in on the conspiracy to kill him. He said that even after death I would not be able to take our child from him. He said he had given up 10 years of his life to be with our daughter. (He has 4 kids back in his own country, older and younger than our daughter he has not seen in 10 years.) He demanded I call him right away. I ignored him.
  • July 18, he finally called the number I had given him for our daughter the week previous, but my daughter did not hear the call so she didn’t answer.
  • She called back, but he did not answer.
  • He accused me of giving him a fake number.
  • I told him to try again but he did not.
  • I finally gave him the insurance card.
  • I didn’t hear from him again until we left the US.
  • He again accused me of international kidnapping and demanded a number where he could reach his daughter.
  • I sent him her phone number in our current country.
  • He said it was not a safe number and he would not call it. He said it was “wired.” I take this to mean it is bugged.
  • He sent one or two emails reiterating his conspiracy theory and begging me to stop it.
  • On Tuesday of this week, he received the certified letter with the motion and hearing date.
  • I have received 6 emails so far from him accusing me of doing this for financial reasons, demanding I call him, demanding I drop the petition, accusing me of kidnapping our child, threatening that his village leaders will fight this, etc. etc.
  • His most recent email claims he has called my place of employment and contacted two of my siblings.
  • One of my siblings has received nothing. The other has received a notification in Facebook messenger that he has been contacted, but he hasn’t read it yet.
  • The hearing is on October 3 in our home state. If he doesn’t show up or present a defense, it’s a default finding in my favor.

I don’t know if he has actually called my job or if it’s a bluff. He actually speaks the language here, so he can communicate with whomever answers and it could be embarrassing for me and possibly put my job in danger. Employers are not held to the same laws here as back home, so if it becomes bad enough, it could result in them not renewing my contract.

I’m thinking of telling him I will charge him with harassment if he continues calling my school. Any advice?