Visitor Question

Can I take my father’s legal rights away for his abuse?

Submitted By: Maya (Florida)

My father has been emotionally and even sometimes physically abusive towards me since I can remember. I am only 15 years old. My mother is letting me live with a family friend in another state (in a new school) for a semester, but my father is holding me back because of the legal control he has over me.

I would like to know if I could sue him for emotional distress and take his parental rights away? What else can I do to get out of living with him? Thank you for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Maya,

Because of your age you will not be able to personally undertake legal action against your father. To do so will require legal representation by an experienced attorney.

To succeed in terminating your father’s parental rights will require proof that your father’s actions or inaction threatens the life, safety, well-being, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child (you).

Under Florida Statutes Title V Chapter 39 39.806 1 (c), “Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights,” parental rights of a parent may be terminated when it is proved…

“… the parent or parents engaged in conduct toward the child (you) or toward other children that demonstrates that the continuing involvement of the parent or parents in the parent-child relationship threatens the life, safety, well-being, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child.”

While you are still a minor, you can contact Florida’s Legal Aid Society and ask them to look into the facts of your claim. If Florida Legal Services accepts your case, they may may ask the court to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to protect your interests and to take action to pursue your request for termination of parental rights.

Learn more here: Child Abuse & Restitution

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck!


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