Abandonment: When used in the context of adoption, this term refers to the most common involuntary reason that the parental rights of an absent parent can be terminated by a court. Although the laws of each state will define this term differently for residents of that state, these definitions almost unanimously include some combination of an unjustified failure to provide adequately for the financial support for the child and an unjustified failure to maintain, or attempt to maintain, contact or a parental relationship with the child for a certain period of time. The required time period and the precise definition of this term can vary significantly from state to state, but generally, the continuous period that is required for a legal abandonment is somewhere between 6 months and one year.